Advice Encyclopedia

Helpie FAQ

  • Deeper Dating Podcasts

    Transcripts from the Deeper Dating Podcast

  • Addiction And Love: An Interview With Rob Weiss, Ph.D. [EP104]

    Addiction in all its forms has powerfully impacted so many of our lives. In this episode, I interview Dr. Rob Weiss, the world-renowned expert on addiction and love. If you’ve ever struggled with issues of addiction in the lives of the people you love–or even in your own life–then I truly encourage you not to miss this episode.

    Table of Contents

    Addiction And Love: An Interview With Rob Weiss, Ph.D.

    A Compassionate New Understanding

    If you have questions or concerns about addiction of all sorts and its impact on you, your family, and your relationship, this is an interview you shouldn’t miss. Today, I talked to Dr. Rob Weiss, a world-renowned expert on addiction and relationships, and what he has to say simply should not be missed. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the book Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new platform for people to meet in a way that is kind, respectful and based on the real principles of deeper intimacy that I speak about on this podcast. I’m so excited today because I’m going to be interviewing my good friend, Dr. Rob Weiss, who is a globally renowned expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions. We’re going to be speaking about addiction and how that impacts our relationship lives, our lives as a whole, and how we can address issues of addiction in our relationships. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy, which are the greatest skills of all for a happy, meaningful life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list and receive some free gifts and learn more about using these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. I also want to say that everything I share and that Rob shares in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, if you like what you’re hearing and learning here, it would be wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

    Let me tell you a little bit about Rob and the work that he does. Dr. Weiss is the Chief Clinical Officer of Seeking Integrity Treatment Centers, working with sex, porn, and drug-addicted men. He’s an expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions, most notably sex, porn, and relationship addictions. He’s a 25-year addiction specialist and a clinical sexologist, and a practicing psychotherapist. He’s created intimacy-focused clinical treatment programs in the United States, around the world, and for the US military.

    He’s also a subject matter expert for major media, including CNN, The New York Times, and Newsweek, among others. He is the author of ten books, among which are Prodependence: Moving Beyond CodependencySex Addiction 101Out of the Doghouse and Cruise Control among others. He’s also a weekly writer for Psychology Today. His blog Love and Sex in the Digital Age has had over eighteen million readers to date. His wonderful podcast, which I’m excited that I’m going to be appearing on or maybe by this point, will have appeared on already, which is ‎Sex, Love, & Addiction, was rated as a Top 10 US addiction podcast with over 550,000 downloads since 2019. It’s deeply impressive. When we speak, you will have a much richer understanding of why that is. Rob, I’m so glad to have you on the show.

    Hey, Ken. I’m glad to be here.

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love
    Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency

    Rob, I think that this is such an important subject, and it’s not one that we have covered much in detail in this podcast. Although I do speak about the issues that come up when we are in a relationship with someone who has an active addiction or if we do ourselves. I would love to just hear your general thoughts for this audience, for anybody who is struggling with being in a relationship where there is some form of addiction. Either their partner, they have a sense that their partner has some form of addiction or that they sensed that they do, and are troubled and trying to figure out what to do next. Very globally, if you could just share some thoughts to help us dive in.

    I think you are starting with loved ones, partners, family members. When you have someone in your life who’s addicted, you understand that addicts are very clever, especially when it comes to doing everything they can to be secretive and hide their addiction. Ken, we were talking about this earlier, and I actually think that it is very hard for someone close to a loved one to know that there’s an addiction until they run straight into it. If you see the heroin, if you find the bottles hidden all over the house, if you see all the bills for the sex workers and the porn, then you’ve got some information that tells you, “Wow. There’s a lot more going on here than maybe I thought about, or maybe at least we need to talk about it.” Addicts tend to live in a very secret world that is separate from their day-to-day life.

    I think the things you would most see are things like they lose time. They say they’re going somewhere and they’re not there. They tell you they’re going to be home at a certain time, then when they’re not, they say, “Well, I never said that time.” They lie. They manipulate the beliefs of those close to them to feel like they’re wrong. In other words, this is frog in the boiling water metaphor. I think that’s a lot of families and spouses of addicts where things start out not so great, and then they get worse and worse and worse, but the person becomes adapted to it. It’s almost easier for the neighbor to see that your husband is a drunk than it is for you sometimes.

    You are articulating one particular quality here as well, which is dishonesty, a lack of integrity. Would you say that’s true?

    This is why I named my treatment program, Seeking Integrity. Integrity comes from the word integration. Integration is to be one person without secrets, without surprises. To be an addict is to be disintegrated, that you have different parts of your life in different places and they never meet. I think the secret life of an addict is often well hidden. Sometimes it can be your next-door neighbor who sees that your husband is a drunk before you do, because partners are often in kind of a frog in the boiling water situation where things are getting worse and worse and worse, but they’re used to it, and they’re used to it, and they’re used to it, and sometimes they don’t see the problem in front of them.

    It’s so easy to want to believe your partner. Just believe them even though something doesn’t feel right. It’s so easy to make that choice even though it may not be the wisest choice, and with addicts, that happens a lot.

    To be an addict is to be disintegrated; you have different parts of your life in different places, and they never meet.CLICK TO TWEETKen, you have to think about the fact that we all want to believe that those closest to us have our back, that their primary thing in the world when they go out there is to do whatever they need to do, but to not do anything that will hurt us, that will let us down or that they know would cause harm to our families. That’s what addicts do routinely. They do things all the time that are going to hurt their families, hurt their loved ones, hurt themselves, and they don’t talk about it. It’s kept a secret. It really isn’t found out until the partner runs into some major issue.

    Rob, what would you say about someone who’s in a relationship? They don’t necessarily know that there is an addiction issue. They don’t have kind of palpable proof of that, but they see a pattern of dishonesty, and that they know, that they recognize.

    I think you trust your gut. Every partner I’ve ever worked with and family members said, “There’s something not right. They seem disconnected. They seem to be in places where they didn’t say they were going to be. I’m hearing hints that they left work earlier.” You just get bits and pieces. I think, for people close to the addict, they feel the sense that something is not right, and they feel little pieces of it in different areas, but they can’t quite put their finger on it.

    One thing I wanted to say to you, Ken, is that when we love somebody, we don’t ever want to think badly of them. We will work hard to not think badly of the people we love because they’re the ones who are closest to us. I think of the mom who’s, God forbid, her kid killed five people. They say to the mom, “Hey mom, we’re really sorry to say but your kid did this.” The first thing mom says is, “Not my kid. There’s no way. He would never do anything like that. He’s a good kid.” That’s because when you’re close to someone, you don’t want to and can’t see some of what’s going on, but I’ll tell you what. Your next-door neighbor is going to see it when you can’t.

    Rob, let’s talk about sex addiction some here. Let’s talk about people who are listening to the show, who are wondering, “Might I have some sex addiction or porn addiction? I do feel like I watch porn too much. I do feel like I lose time doing that, but it doesn’t really get in the way of my life in any really big ways. It concerns me. I don’t know how it’s going to affect my sex life with my partner or my dating life. I just don’t know. I feel a little funny about it, but I’m not sure how to evaluate it.” I would just love to hear any of your thoughts about how to evaluate when something is sex addiction or porn addiction. What are the different levels of harm? How should we evaluate that in our own lives for everyone who’s wondering?

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love
    Addiction And Love: Some people may think they have an addiction, but it might be more of a mental health problem.

    I think in terms of addiction in general, what you said was really useful. You said, “I don’t know if I have a problem. I can’t see whether it’s really affecting my life or not.” The thing is, when you are an addict or you’re someone who is hiding things from others, you’re also hiding things from yourself. Work might diminish a little bit. Your relationship might diminish a little bit, your time with your kids, whatever it is. You may not see it as like you said, “I don’t know whether I’m an addict or not because my life hasn’t completely fallen apart.” Well, it may be falling apart in a whole bunch of ways that you don’t see or you don’t want to see, but someone else might step in and say, “You know what? I’m concerned about this.”

    I guess that might be the first thing is have people show concern about your sexual behavior, your romantic behavior, you’re drinking, you’re using. Have other people said, “Gee, I’m a little worried about this and you don’t pay any attention?” Have you found yourself saying, “I’m going to stop looking at this porn. It’s in the way,” or “I’m going to stop drinking,” or whatever it is and then found that, “Gosh, darn it,” a week later, you were back at it again? Even though you make promises to yourself and you made them to other people, you couldn’t keep them. That’s a really big sign of addiction.

    Another one is consequences. “I’m going to have somebody at work find out. I’m going to have an arrest. I’m going to have a DUI. I’m going to get a disease.” Despite that, “I’m just going to fix the little problem that that caused and go back to the behavior.” I mean healthy people say, “Wow. Look what that behavior caused. I’m not going to do that again.” Addicts say, “How can I keep doing that thing without it becoming more of a problem?”

    That’s beautiful and a really important point. Specifically, now let’s just talk about porn addiction. What are the markers that you have crossed over? In addition to the one that you just said that you’ve crossed over to a place where harm is happening, and what is the harm that happens in a relationship where one of the partners has a porn addiction?

    Let me say a couple of things. Before you get to partners, let’s talk about how it affects the individual. A couple of things, there are different kinds of people who have porn problems. To be really honest, I don’t use the word porn addict because we don’t really have a diagnosis called that. We don’t really have research that speaks to who is a porn addict and who isn’t. This is part of the problem, Ken, is that people can have all kinds of problems related to porn. For example, they can become isolated and not go out in the world and not be socializing and not be dating. For some men, they can lose their ability to have erections. They can lose their ability and interest in being sexual with other adult human beings.

    You are as strong today as your connections and relationships, not just your ability to succeed.CLICK TO TWEETPorn abuse, if you will, can affect your life in a whole variety of ways, but they basically have to do with you don’t show up for your life because you’re too busy spending hours and hours at home with your porn or wherever you are. I think there’s something else too. That problems with porn, a couple of things, it’s easier to use that word, they can come from various things. Someone might have a mental health disorder and they’re manic. They’re going to be crazy around porn. Someone might have ADD or OCD, other mental health issues that involve the same part of the brain as compulsivity and impulsivity. They may think they have an addiction, but it might more be a mental health problem.

    There are many places that this problem we call porn addiction can come from, but people need different kinds of help.

    For example, there’s a young person who started looking porn when they were 9 or 11. They looked at it all the way through high school. Now they’ve gotten through it and they haven’t built social relationships. They’re not dating, and they’ve gotten further and further away from having a life because of the porn, but maybe when they were younger, when they were 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, they had a life. Their life is diminished because of the porn. There are others who really have an addiction problem related to sex and it isn’t just porn. They’re also engaged in sex workers and cam people online, and they’re going on apps. They have more broad problems with porn. There are even folks who, let’s say, have strong moral or religious objections to porn, but they can’t help but look at it.

    They hate themselves even if they look a few times because they feel it’s so against their values and beliefs. Some of those people call themselves addicts simply because their sexual behavior goes against their values and beliefs. There is no one thing I would call a porn addict, but it certainly comes down to the time you spend, the reduction of your intimacy in your relationships, the isolation. I’ve got to say that of all the people I work with sexual problems, porn addicts are the most ashamed. They are the most embarrassed, the men in particular, because who wants to be that guy who’s sitting around by yourself masturbating to porn and not having relationships, not being sexual with people, being isolated with the porn? Nobody wants to be that guy or gal.

    Or being in a relationship and knowing it’s creating a wall between you and your partner.

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love

    Addiction And Love: Some people call themselves addicts simply because their sexual behavior goes against their values and beliefs.

    It’s interesting, Ken. I’ve worked with recently a whole bunch of people who have had porn problems often into their relationships. They come to treatment at Seeking Integrity and they are 45, and they have been lying about their porn use to their spouses for twenty years. Their spouse may have caught a little. They saw it. The person promised, “I won’t look at it as much,” or “It’s no big deal,” or whatever they said, but slowly, the intimacy went out of the relationship. Slowly, they became less and less sexual. Slowly, he or she couldn’t figure out where their partner is disappearing to. When in fact, they’re losing them to porn use or any addiction that happens to be going on.

    Now let’s talk about people who are aware that their partner has a porn addiction, a little guidance about what to do, how to handle that, how to address it.

    I think with every addict, you have to be direct and talk about what’s true for you. One of the things that I think partners and family members are often fearful of is, “Oh my goodness. If I confront this person, if I challenge this person, if I really get upset about this, maybe they’ll use more. Maybe they’ll look at more porn.” In other words, “Maybe I will be the cause of the problem by challenging them.” The truth is and it’s something that I want everyone out there to hear is that no partner, no family member, no friend can ever be responsible for someone else’s using or sexual acting out or gambling or whatever the problem is. “You can make me miserable. You can hate me. You can make my life a living hell, and I can go play cards. I can divorce you. I can go get therapy. My choice to drink or use or sex or gamble or whatever it is when I am upset, that’s my choice.”

    What partners often run into is they are doubting themselves. They’re wondering what they’re doing wrong. Partners often turn on themselves, families too. They say, “What’s wrong with me that this person is doing this? Is there something I can do to make it different?” When, in fact, it really is the person with a problem who is the only person who can come up with the motivation to make it different. Partners and family members can confront. They can tell their truth. They can express their concerns. They can show their concerns but ultimately, it’s up to that family member to decide, “What do I do with this addict in my life, and how do I want to live my life with this person in it?”

    There’s so much in what you said just now. I think one piece of it is that terrible kind of tyranny that emotional blackmail of, “If I change, this person will be better. If I don’t get angry, if I do this or don’t do that, this person will behave differently.” Addicts absolutely love to put those exact forms of blame on their partners, which makes it really hard. That brings us to the area of codependency. There’s so much talk about codependency, so much speaking about codependency. In your book about prodependency, you’ve developed a whole different set of theories. I’d love to hear about those theories and how they relate to anybody who’s in a relationship with someone who might have an addiction.

    The problem with an addict is that you’re giving and loving into an empty well.CLICK TO TWEETAs you know and as you mentioned, Ken, I’ve worked in addictions and been licensed for over 25 years. I’ve worked in so many treatment centers and so many environments and set them up and created them. One of the constant concerns that I hear from family members is, “I don’t feel like I fit this model. I don’t think I did anything wrong that caused this person to have their addiction. I don’t think there’s anything I could do to make them.” In other words, they’re getting a sense I think in relations to shifts in our culture that the person with the problem is the person who is responsible, and the people around them are reacting to the problem. Codependency says, “What’s wrong with me for getting involved with this person? Am I just playing out all my own trauma and staying with them my past issues? Am I enabling this person in whatever they’re doing because I’m not doing whatever I should be doing? Could I cause it?”

    Codependency asks us to look at our history, our family experiences and say, “What’s wrong with me that I ended up with this person who’s an addict, that I stayed with this person who’s an addict? If I were to make that choice again after lots of therapy and trauma work, would I choose this person?” I just think why in the world would you want to make somebody in a relationship who’s tried so hard to maybe get this person sober or to stop their behavior or to live with it? All of a sudden, you’re going to turn around to this person when they’ve done everything they can to make it better. Instead of saying to them, “Good for you for hanging in there. Wow. I’m really impressed.” Anyone who’s willing to love such a troubled person is my hero.

    Ken, if someone had cancer, my partner had cancer, and I was dealing with that and working three jobs and giving up my life, you would bring me casseroles, but if for some reason my partner is an addict, and I’m giving up my jobs and not recreating, doing everything I can to save my family, you have nasty names for me like codependent. I just think that is number one, it doesn’t mirror where we are in the therapy world today, which is much more about attachment and connections. I am as strong today as my connections and my relationships, not just my ability to succeed. Partnerships and healthy partnership, as you know, as you talk about in Deeper Dating, is what it’s all about. Why would we tell people there’s something wrong with partnering with this person? There’s something wrong with staying with this person, and that if you don’t fix yourself, you’re going to end up with another person like that.

    None of that seems productive to me to helping a family heal because what it does to people who have done nothing in my belief, but try to love the person who is troubled and ill in their family, who’s tried to do their absolute best to heal them. By the way, most people don’t go to school to learn how to work with addictions. If they marry an addict, they don’t know how to help. They might bring the battles home. They don’t know how. They’re just doing the best they can. For us to turn to them and say, “Gee, I understand you didn’t want to lose your loved one. You did everything you can, but it’s really about what’s wrong with you,” to me, it is counterintuitive. By the way, family members don’t like it.

    There is a new way of looking at this, and it has to do with taking a step back and saying, “What if there’s nothing wrong with the people who love an addict? What if there’s nothing wrong with people who love someone who’s mentally ill? What if they simply got involved with someone they loved and adored and appreciated, then that person got sicker and sicker, and they didn’t know how to help, they did everything they could to make the situation better, but addicts are only ready when they’re ready?”

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love
    Addiction And Love: No partner, family member, or friend can ever be responsible for someone else’s using, sexual acting out, gambling, or whatever the problem is.

    When the person finally goes to get help, what I believe under Prodependence is that people need validation and support for everything they’ve given and everything they’ve done. I would never pick apart someone who’s in a crisis. I would never diagnose someone who’s in a crisis, not as codependent or as anything. By the way, let me just say this before I stop my rant, codependency despite the 370 pop culture books that have been written about, it has never been validated in our research. Codependency does not exist in any of our diagnoses. I can’t bill insurance for it.

    It’s been 35 years, and we don’t have the research. We don’t have a diagnosis. There are 370 books written about it. Which is the right one? Because we have no diagnosis. We have no criteria for codependency. As far as I’m concerned, it is a pop-culture notion that arose in the 1980s and became hugely encouraging to women to become more independent of men because that’s what the whole thing was about in the 1980s is women becoming more independent. The reality is that that is not interdependence. It’s anti-dependence. We want to encourage people to be dependent on each other, to be intimate with each other, to know that that person’s got my back. I think, Ken, we also need to know that we need other people to survive, especially that one person who we lean into, and don’t tell me there’s ever anything wrong with me loving the people that I love.

    That was amazing and powerful. I got a bunch of thoughts and questions about that. First of all, I just want to acknowledge your compassion, and this very key point, which is something that I also talk about a lot in relation to codependency, is that there is a Core Gift there, which is a gift of generosity and loyalty. The people who are called codependent are the most generous and loyal people that you could find, often, yes, to their detriment, but to miss that gift at the center of all of this is to miss the most important part of all. That love and generosity of spirit and loyalty, which probably needs help to mature and get legs and stand up and honor itself, but the first step wouldn’t be beating someone down and pathologizing them. It would be acknowledging this primal gift of generosity and loyalty. I love what you’re saying.

    You said, Ken, that sometimes partners, family members love and are generous to their own detriment. What I would say about that is they don’t know. They’re just doing the best they can, and they’re giving and giving and giving and loving and loving. The problem is that with an addict, you’re giving and loving into an empty well. There’s nothing there for it. There’s no resonance. People start to blame themselves because their love, their attention, and their affection isn’t healing the person they love, when all along, their love and affection could have never healed that person. They have an emotional problem called addiction.

    I love what you’re saying. I love the compassion inherent in what you’re saying. What it makes me want to ask next is, so people who identify with these concepts that have been called codependency, where you give up yourself for another person, where you throw yourself in front of the tracks to save another person, but they still do the same thing again and again, the dishonoring of self that can go with it, all of the pieces that go with a situation where you don’t honor the other person’s adult right of choice. There are so many pieces. I don’t even know how to begin to articulate it, but whatever it is, all of those different parts of the constellation. What would you say to someone who recognizes some of those things in themselves after they’ve acknowledged how hard they’re trying, how much they care? Once they acknowledge that, what are the next steps to be able to continue growing?

    Relationships fail, even bad ones.CLICK TO TWEETI think they need to get help. If I have a problem and I can’t solve it, if I can’t fix the leak under my sink, I’m not going to say, “Well, maybe if I try tomorrow, I’m going to get somebody to help me.” If you can’t solve the problem of addiction or mental health in someone you love, and you’ve done your very best, I guess you need help. I never say to somebody, “You shouldn’t have done this. You shouldn’t have done that,” in the process of helping someone who’s an addict. I will say, “You did your very best. Unfortunately, you didn’t study addiction healing in high school, and you don’t know how to heal your partner, despite all the energy, but if we do it together, I bet I’ll have a lot of solutions and ideas that will be able to help both of us get where you want that person to go.”

    Rather than asking the partner to examine themselves and look at themselves, what if they just get help? By the way, the issue for partners and loved ones is they lose self-care. We say, “Well, that’s pathology. Why do they stop taking care of themselves?” The answer is because they love somebody. That person is failing. Every one of us who love, deeply love a family member, a sister, a brother, a child, we would absolutely give up ourselves if we’re healthy to help support them. That’s what love is. That’s what family independency is. Why would we, as under codependency, ever blame someone?

    Back to self-care, I do think that once I or someone is helping or a professional is helping someone deal with the addiction problem, part of dealing with that is saying to the person, “You might take a night off. Maybe you should get someone to hang out at your house so that your spouse doesn’t go out driving and drinking. You can take a yoga class.” In other words, we slowly weave in the idea that the person who loves the troubled person needs to begin to refocus on themselves, not at the detriment of the relationship, not saying, “I have to leave or pull back from the relationship, but I have to take better care of myself as any caregiver of someone who’s medically sick would have to do.”

    Beautiful. I think this thing of getting help is so hugely important, and that help needs to include a community of support in some way. A therapist is wonderful and important once a week or maybe twice a week, and that kind of community of people that you can reach out to is also a really huge thing. Just to share a story of mine, a personal story, I was dating somebody with who I was cataclysmically in love with. It was a complete revelation.

    That’s not the right word for love. That’s not supposed to be the right word for love.

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love
    Addiction And Love: People of a similar emotional level with similar emotional issues will be drawn together.

    It wasn’t a kind of really healthy love at all. In the slightest, it was what I call an attraction of deprivation, but it was one that cracked me open and changed my life because it was such a revelation in so many ways. There were really good parts to what I learned. Anyway, the relationship ended, and the pain that I experienced was so intense. I mean, I felt like I literally could not catch my breath. Somebody recommended that I went to a Codependence Anonymous meeting. I remember going to that meeting, and it provided me with a completely different angle on things because it asked me to look at the ways in which I gave up on myself, focusing on getting this person to love me.

    I literally had the experience of oxygen coming back into my being. Somehow my being was allowed to breathe again with that insight. Those meetings were amazingly helpful for me and really important. In this whole arena of addiction, I just want to acknowledge and make space for twelve-step work, which as a psychotherapist and as someone who’s had a lot of addiction in my family, I have seen heal so many lives in addition.

    I will tell you that all over the world, people are starting Prodependence Anonymous meetings because they want to be in rooms where the fact that they gave and loved and gave of themselves is considered a gift and not a fault. Ken, even in your situation, what you described is not what I would call love. I would disagree with this. You said, “We love the person so that we are loved.” I think we love people because we love them. Whether that man was available to you or not, you loved him and you wanted to have a relationship, and you might have been more available than this other person was. Maybe the choices that you made and you’re attempting to get something from a stone really is about you, but the fact that you might have cared for this person, that you might have been needful, that you might have hoped they would meet your dreams, I think that’s human.

    I also think our relationships fail, even bad ones. We grieve them. We’re sad. We miss them. Even the abusive people we miss, because they’re our most recent experience of deep and meaningful attachment, even if they hurt us. I understand how codependency can bring a different light to people over time, but I’m interested in the first six months or the first year when someone is finally looking at their partner’s addiction, or that partner finally gets sober, or they’ve left that partner. I’m interested when they’re in a crisis around addiction, how do we treat them? What do we call them? Because people who are wanting personal growth, I think as you described, they can read books, they can go to therapy, they can go to twelve-step meetings, and they can grow if they wish.

    I believe people who are involved with an addict just want to get back where they were. They just want things to be okay again. I actually think that to impose personal growth on people is abusive because most people just want to get back to the way it was. Who said it was my job to make them more functional, better people? If people seek that, that’s great, but if all they’re seeking is to tolerate, get past, live with and hopefully, heal someone’s addiction so that they can begin to heal themselves, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them at all.

    Intimacy is created when you take the risk of revealing yourself to others.CLICK TO TWEETYou’ll like this. I wrote a chapter in Prodependence called 2s Don’t Marry 7s. What that means is if you’re emotionally a 2, you’re going to look at a 7 or an 8 emotionally. You’re going to say, and I hear this all the time, “They’re so boring. I don’t want to date someone that boring,” but they’re the healthy person. Then if you’re a 2 or 3, that 8 or 9, that healthy person looks at you and says, “Oh my God, too much drama. I don’t want to date that person.” I actually do believe that people of a similar emotional level with similar emotional issues, will be drawn together. I think that’s a good thing provided both members of the relationship are working on themselves. They’re going to twelve-step meetings. They have self-awareness. They’re in therapy.

    I can date or be in a relationship with anyone. I can love anyone as long as they are willing to be accountable for their part of the relationship. I can love an addict. I can love a troubled person as long as they keep their side of the street clean and can own their part. I can only not be in a relationship with someone who makes me wrong all the time for bringing things up, for talking about things, for asking things to get better. Troubled people, I think actually two 2s together or two 3s together have the possibility of becoming a 5 together. This idea that codependency has that we need to separate and distance and not be in a relationship in order to heal, I just don’t agree with or believe in.

    We might have some different beliefs about that, but as you know I don’t believe in codependency. I think that’s a cruel name for people who deeply love, and are now being blamed for the love that they have given. You can say that someone loved the wrong person. You can say that someone loved someone who couldn’t give love back. You can say that somebody loved into a situation which is only going to cause them harm. You can say that you can love people who will never love you back, but the love itself, and the giving itself, and the choosing, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that the person you choose has not gotten past some of their troubles or isn’t willing to look at themselves, then the couple won’t grow, but if both members of the couple are willing to grow, I believe that individuals can grow faster in coupleship than they do as individuals, but that’s me.

    I think we certainly agree on a few of those points and including the major ones, but I think that there are very few 2s I feel like if you are a 2 or a 3 using this construct who can take responsibility for yourself, and not blame the other person, and be willing to and want to grow, then you wait no 2. You are like a 6 or above because that is a treasured quality. It’s a huge quality. It demands a huge amount of integrity. I think that there’s some line where if both parties are willing to do the work, even if deeply imperfectly, I agree. I think that’s a glorious thing, but I think that that takes a certain level of self-acknowledgment. I don’t think that happens easily with an addict who is active, for example.

    Right, but I would never get in a relationship with an active addict until they were sober and looking at themselves.

    DDP 104 | Addiction And Love
    Addiction And Love: The troubled people who love other troubled people, who are both on a journey of healing, are better off together than they are separate.

    I agree with that.

    This is the wisdom of the partners looking for love. I would say this constantly, “Go find a broken person. Great, but make sure they’re working on themselves. Make sure they have a language for it.” You’re going to find a broken person anyway because you’re broken, and you’re going to find somebody at your same level of functioning. Find someone who really works for you, but make sure that they’re already sober. Make sure they’re already working on themselves. In that way, you can grow together.

    That’s a huge point. I really agree with this. The choice not to enter into a relationship with someone who has an active addiction is an essential choice. This is something that I say all the time is that if you or your prospective partner has an untreated, unstabilized, serious-psychiatric disorder or an active addiction, it’s better not to commit to the relationship until those things have been really significantly addressed. I think that’s also a really, really important thing. You said, Rob, that there are Prodependence Anonymous groups. That’s very exciting using the twelve-step model but applying it to these concepts.

    Yes, but we would never use the word prodependency because it’s not a pathology. It’s not a name. It’s not a label. It’s a concept, which says the troubled people who love other troubled people, who are both on a journey of healing are better off together than they are separate. Codependency in my belief system broke up a lot of good marriages that could have been saved in the ‘90s, had people been redirected back to their relationships instead of simply asked to self-actualize for themselves.

    I deeply agree with that. Harville Hendrix’s work really turned my head around when he talked about there’s a certain point in a relationship where your partner cannot give you the thing you most need, but that’s not the point to end the relationship. That’s the beginning of doing the work of deeper love. This blew my mind when I heard it. I do remember in those Codependence Anonymous meetings. There was a thing. It would make me laugh that somebody would say, “I just broke up with my partner,” and people would clap. It was like a kind of general thing that people would do. For a lot of assumptions that were under there, “I just broke up with my partner who wasn’t treating me right, etc.,” but the fact that that kind of separation was the way to go instead of in it and through it, assuming the kind of qualities of integrity that we keep talking about as being so central.

    Let’s not forget, Ken, that not everyone has those qualities if they are an active addict. It doesn’t mean that they are not present. In other words, I might as a heroin addict spend my kids’ college fund to get some drugs, but sober, I might work 3 or 4 jobs and take no time for myself to pay that fund back. Many addicts have very intact moral and ethical belief systems. It’s just that they’re obliterated by the addiction.

    Yes. It’s so deeply true. Rob, anything you want to share in closing about codependency, about prodependence, about being in a relationship with an addict, about exploring whether or not you might have an addiction? Any closing thoughts you want to share?

    I want to say to you, Ken, that I love that you’re doing Deeper Dating. I love that you’re helping people find their true selves and be able to reveal them as fully as they can to the people they love because that is how intimacy is created. It’s the revealing of oneself to others and taking that risk. First, I have to say kudos to you for the work you’re doing. I think it’s much needed, especially with single people, because I hear them struggle. I hear, “What is the relationship? How do you find a relationship? What is intimacy? What is love?” We’ve all struggled, but especially in this digital era, I think it’s really a struggle. Kudos to you for doing it.

    Thank you. Kudos to you for bringing kindness, humanity, compassion, and clinical clarity to this entire concept of prodependence versus an approach to codependency which really can limit us and devalue us at the same time. Rob, thank you so much for all that. How can people get in touch with you and learn more about your work?

    I’m in lots of places. If you want to hear the podcast, as you said, it’s very, very popular. We’ve had Harville Hendrix and Sue Johnson and a whole bunch of really famous therapists on there, and that is Sex, Love, & Addiction. You can read my blog on Psychology Today, Sex and Love in the Digital Age, or you can drop me a note at our treatment program because I’m [email protected]. Our treatment program, which is for men with sex, intimacy, and drug disorders because sometimes they cross and they’re co-related, is SeekingIntegrity.com. Thank you again for having me.

    Thank you so much, Rob. It’s always a joy to speak with you. We will continue our conversations. Thank you, everybody, for listening to this episode, and we look forward to seeing you on the next one. Thanks.

  • How Deep Friendship Paves The Way To Deepest Love [EP103]

     

    Table of Contents

    How Deep Friendship Paves The Way To Deepest Love

    Single People: Building Your Family Of Creation

    How to build a family of creation in this world that supports you, nourishes you, gives you meaning, and helps you find the love that you’re seeking or deepen the love that you have already? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a site where single people can meet in an online environment that’s inspiring, kind, fun, and respectful. Today in this show, I’m going to talk about building a family of creation for single people. This episode and every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy, rich life. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and see transcripts of every episode. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

     

    I would love to talk about, and this is for everyone, this is for people who are single, people who are coupled, but specifically, I want to talk about building a family of creation in the world for people who are single and looking for a relationship. This is a huge subject and one that I have a lot of personal relationship to, and as a psychotherapist, one that I work with people around all the time. This is important on so many levels because the deepest skills of intimacy that we’re going to use in our relationship, our romantic relationship, are learned through all of our social relationships. The big things of making a different kind of decision about who you’re going to choose to be with, about learning how to choose people who really feed your soul, attractions of inspiration in the friendship arena, and then getting through all of the roadblocks, obstacles, dilemmas and fears of closeness, and all the patterns that come up. We learn that by building love in our life. That helps us profoundly make better choices about who we’re going to end up committing to, and living in the relationship with the person that we commit to in a richer, deeper way.

    I just want to say something just a little bit about my stories. I could start way at the beginning, but where I’m going to start was arriving in New York City to go to graduate school and being a gay man, and discovering this buffet, this banquet of sex, the search for love, infinite varieties of playground type of ways to hook up and connect. In my eyes, all the time, looking for what I really wanted, which was a relationship, but you might not have known that from the things that I was doing on a regular basis because that’s what I was brought up in. This was like the gay men’s crazy life of the ‘80s. Anyway, I did this for a long time, and my goal was to find love. I devoted a lot of time to my profession. That was very exciting to me and I was passionate about that. I devoted most of the rest of my time to this beautiful world of this gay, pre-AIDS blossoming of queer culture, which was fun, sexual, magical, and empty in a lot of ways at the same time.

    Slow down, connect to your feelings, and discover yourself.CLICK TO TWEETI did this. I was passionate about it, passionate for years. I just didn’t want to even leave New York City on the weekends and I was driven. I was driven to find love, and I failed at finding love, but there was so much excitement that I kept doing this. At a certain point, I committed to a deeper path of healing and that involves therapy. That was also when I was getting trained as a therapist at the same time, and I went into therapy. One of the most amazing things that happened to me at that point was that I discovered, because I slowed down and connected to my feelings enough, I discovered that as filled as my life was, it was really empty. As much time as I was spending looking for love, I was spending no time building love, except maybe with the wrong people like the club people or whoever it was that I felt had what I wanted at that time. When I entered into deeper therapy work, workshops, groups, and this kind of deeper training, I discovered an emptiness that was so great. This is when the shift in my journey away from shame and away from emptiness began.

    I remember being in a workshop, and I was touching on a loneliness that was so huge that I didn’t let myself even feel it. I remember at one point, deep tears came out. If you ever saw a kid who got hurt, they were so upset and so shocked that their mouth was wide open, but no cry came out because the tears were too big at first to find traction. I remember feeling that way, and then I remember the tears just pouring and pouring out. This was a good thing. This was a huge healing. I was beginning to recognize that I had not built family in the world. I had not built community, and the beautiful people who I could have had that with didn’t interest me enough. This is just my story. It may not be your story, but maybe pieces of it relate to you and are useful, because that is when my deeper, richer journey began to change.

    DDP 103 | Family Of Creation
    Family Of Creation: The deepest skills of intimacy that we’re going to use in our romantic relationship are learned through all of our social relationships.

    I began to think of the people who I adored and who felt safer to me, who I had not really spent much time with for years as I was in this search, looking for love and in this kind of crazy world that I was in. I began to reach out to those people. I realized how hungry I was for family, for people to just connect with, live with, be stupid with, have fun with and do nothing with. None of those were parts of my New York City life, so I began to reconnect with people who were very precious to me. I’m going to come back to this because this connects to, I think, one of the greatest ways that we can start building connection and family in our lives. As I did that, I started building connections in other ways. I had a wonderful support group of other therapists. It went on for twelve years, and it was infinitely nourishing to me. I decided that I was ready to have cats, which you might think is kind of crazy at 30 years old, but that was very big for me. That was another moment of revelation that I could take care of these pets for me at that point, because I had been stunted. It was a very huge, deep, and emotional thing. It was a milestone. I still remember it.

    I started a support group for chronically single therapists, and I realized how important connection and family was. All along this journey at the same time, I was looking for relationships. As I learned the lessons that I described, my friends changed. I began to choose what I call attractions of inspiration for my friends. I did not realize that that was the heart and soul of what was going to change my entire search for love. It happened with friends first, and then I started noticing that the guys that I was dating had more depth, had more decency, had deeper traction in goodness and authenticity that I was used to with the people that I was hanging out with. I realized how great a hunger I had for family.

    Reconnect with people who are very precious to you.CLICK TO TWEETAt one point along the way, this is something I’ve talked about a bunch, but I saw Almodóvar’s movie, All About My Mother, and I left the movie, and I was very shaken. It was about someone who found a path to meaning after great tragedy through building family in different ways in the world. That’s how I experienced it. I left the movie and I thought, “What’s going on inside me?” My next step in building a family without a partner was to become a dad, was to adopt a child as a single dad. This was something I dreaded so much for so many years because I thought that would be the ultimate stamp on my eternal singlehood if I did that. Most of my friends were not dads at that time. I felt like I was at this long table of people and they were all eating rubber chicken at a banquet, and I hit this gloppy, gooey, glorious chocolate dripping sundae that I was eating. That’s what it was like to be a dad for me. It brought me incredible joy and moved me into a state of family, which I had been so longing for.

    That led to meeting my husband and his children, and building a shared family together and meeting so much of those needs, but it didn’t happen the way that I thought it would happen. I thought I was going to find a boyfriend and that boyfriend would become a lover. We didn’t have husbands yet in those days but life partner, that was what I thought. I found that I had to dig my own well, and that well was building a beautiful family. Looking for the people who were deep with their authenticity, deep with their integrity, deep with their goodness who truly loved and appreciated me, and building a world with them.

    DDP 103 | Family Of Creation
    Family Of Creation: The deepest skills of intimacy that we’re going to use in our romantic relationship are learned through all of our social relationships.

    That was anathema for me because I thought it meant moving away from the thing that mattered the most, which was finding a relationship, but God knows that was what moved me toward that. Many of you know this wisdom. I didn’t know it much at all, but if this is any help for those of you that maybe think that you really just need to find the partner and then family will come after that, that for most of us, the great lessons of love are learned in building a family of creation in the world, whether we have a partner or not. I just want to say another thing here with that veer, because your search, our search for a healthy, beautiful and inspiring family of creation, is an absolute mirror for finding your one, finding your beloved. It’s not different. Marianne Williamson said this so gorgeously, and I love this quote. She said, “As I grow emotionally and spiritually, my friends become more like lovers and my lovers become more like friends.”

    I would go as far as to say that the journey to build a family of creation is the very foundation that’s essential for everybody who is on an intimacy journey, whether they have a partner, whether they don’t have a partner, but definitely those who are single, this journey to create a rich family is where we learn our lessons. Many of you know this already, but I just want to share a couple other things. One is that in my decades of being a therapist and doing this work, and this is something I’ve talked about in another podcast, I see a three-stage process that encapsulates and captures the wiser intimacy journey. The first stage, we are embroiled in relationships with people that maybe irritate us or frustrate us, or don’t meet our needs, we try to get them to, it doesn’t work that well. Maybe they’re abusive. Maybe they take advantage of us, but they’re not the relationships where our hearts say, “This is family. This is home. This is good. This is safe. These are beings I respect and trust.”

    ‘As I grow emotionally and spiritually, my friends become more like lovers, and my lovers become more like friends.’ – Marianne WilliamsonCLICK TO TWEETThe great truth, I think, is that it’s only with those people that we find a real foundation and find real happiness. Those are the people we need. We have people we don’t have a choice. We need to be with them, their family, but in terms of family of creation, that’s it. Those are the choices we must make. Anything else is almost a waste. I don’t want to say that old relationships should just be junked, but they might need to be revamped, changed, healed, shifted or maybe let go of. Anyway, the first stage for many of us is to be embroiled in relationships like that, including romantic relationships, what I call the attractions of deprivation.

    The second stage, which I have been fortunate enough to witness huge numbers of time in doing the work that I do, and doing the teaching that I do. The second stage as we begin to claim the beauty of our hearts, our authenticity, and our real selves is that we begin to lose our taste for those people. Literally, we start losing our taste for them. It’s not as exciting, entrancing, sticky, itchy or endlessly engaging to try to pull those people along or get them to be different, or try to be more like them because we think we’re just too sensitive. We lose our taste for that, and then there’s this weird second stage often, which is pretty empty. It’s like nothing is going on, but something is going on. The deeper shift is happening underneath. The seedlings under the earth are just beginning to move, because this is a vast shift when we lose our taste for attractions of deprivation. Stage two is marked by a weird kind of emptiness like, “Where are my people?”

    DDP 103 | Family Of Creation
    Family Of Creation: The deepest skills of intimacy that we’re going to use in our romantic relationship are learned through all of our social relationships.

    Ramakrishna, the great Saint Ramakrishna who was given his temple that later became a great center of spiritual development in India, he used to do this thing. He would go up onto the steps and he would actually call out, “My own, come to me.” That was a practice he did because he knew that his life was empty of his people, and then his people began to come. That middle stage is an odd one, but it passes, and people who feed our souls start coming into our life when that becomes our intention. That is a fabulous, amazing thing. The same stages happen in our search for love, and so then as the second stage moves into the third stage, and the third stage is having a life that’s filled with attractions and relationships of inspiration.

    What happens is, and it’s almost unnoticeable, as a therapist and a coach, I really usually have to help people begin to notice that their field is really shifting at this point, that these new relationships come up. All of a sudden, you’re meeting friends who don’t disturb you in those same ways or shake you up, but instead feed you and nurture you. You begin to notice that there are people who speak truth like you speak truth, or care about goodness like you care about goodness, or care about integrity like you care about integrity, or whatever the things are for you that you feel that wonderful feeling of these people are my spiritual home in the world.

    You notice it in little ways like you’re in class and there’s someone next to you, and they’re just really nice. They’re interested in maybe hanging out. You don’t even notice that as a thing, but I’m encouraging you to notice that as a thing, because as you do this journey that begins to happen, and then that happens more and more, and your life, little by little, becomes more populated with these beautiful people. Is this quick? Is it easy? No. Is it slow? Is it frustrating? Often, but it is beautiful and foundational and precious. The more it happens, the more your life becomes populated with these new relationships and then you are in stage three. Going through these stages with your friends moves you into going through the exact same stages if you do it consciously in your relationship. Sometimes that’s harder because when you’re talking about sex and romance, it’s easier to get sticky with those old paradigms.

    Those are the three stages. The next thing I want to say is I want to talk about how can you speed that process up? What is the quickest, smartest way to begin to fill your life with family of creation? What I have found to be true if you really want to speed this up is don’t start from scratch. Look at your contacts over the last number of years, and see who has a quality of goodness, a rock-solid quality of goodness combined with integrity. Who interests you by the way that they choose to live their lives? Who has an essential generosity of spirit? Every one of those people are gold. They’re your tribe, maybe not perfectly or exactly, but essentially and in really big ways. Those are the places to go back. I know that for me, I gave those relationships short shrift for a long time when I was on my crazy search for just a relationship. Start with those people because you probably have them in your life already, and build the connection and build the sense of family.

    Another thing that’s wonderful that I talk about all the time is to have a learning partner. If there’s someone who’s single, who’s willing to do the deeper work, who has all the qualities I just described and is willing to do the richer, deeper work of intimacy, become learning partners with them. Meet once a week in person on Zoom. Laugh, bitch, complain, but share your growth and support each other in your growth. It’s this act of bringing family to our worlds that makes our world so much more meaningful. This is such a rich journey and I’d love to hear from people what your experience is with this. You could just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and press Ask Ken. I’d love to hear your stories too. For all of you, the great treasure in looking for love and looking for a family is to choose and find those people who feel like home, and have those qualities of character, goodness and decency, and to build your home there. Good luck in your journey. Thanks for reading. I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode.

  • 3 Powerful Ways To Speed Your Path To Love—Right Now! [EP102]

    There are three powerful ways to speed your path to love—right now! Each of these things changes your future in love, helps you grow into a fuller expression of the person you are meant to be, and deepens your capacity for true intimacy. Try them right now and watch what happens!

    Table of Contents

    3 Powerful Ways To Speed Your Path To Love—Right Now!

    Life-Changing Hacks That Lead To Romantic Love And Personal Healing

    There are three things that you can do right now that will accelerate, empower, and deepen your entire search for love. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn what they are.

    Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and I’m the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a site where single people can meet in an online environment that’s fun, inspiring, kind, and respectful. Today, I’m going to talk about three things that you can do that will immediately empower, accelerate, and deepen your search for love. In this podcast, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, which are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    DDP 102 | Speed Love

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts, you’ll be able to get transcripts of every episode, and get to hear all 102 episodes. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. Please seek help if you feel you need it. By the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you if you subscribe at iTunes or elsewhere and left your review. Thank you so much for that. Let’s jump in.

    The first thing that you can do, and these are the things that I would love and encourage you to make actionable, because really finding love is such a difficult, mysterious, and complicated thing. Wherever there are the gems of real tools that work, it’s just such a healing and empowering feeling to feel like you know those tools and you can use them. I’m going to give you three broad tools. If you can take one of them and make it yours even today, it will be a really good thing. We are so misguided with advice about how to find love as if the wisdom doesn’t come from our guts, as we say in Jewish, our kishkes, our deep insides. As if the wisdom doesn’t come from there, as if it comes from somewhere outside, as if we need this “it” to be able to be sexy, attractive, and desirable. Some kind of “it” that we have to figure out what it is, as opposed to living the magic of who we are.

    Look For Events And Communities Of People With The Same Values

    These different tools that I’m going to give you will help you live the magic of who you are, of what your gifts are. It will help you mature and develop those gifts and learn to become more of an artisan in your search for love and your intimacy journey as a whole. They’re all a little bit uphill. They take some work, they take some practice, but the first one is one that I have resisted a lot in my life, and then breaking through that resistance is what led to my marriage and a lot of growth. It was the absolute essence of what transformed a pretty painful and rough period of decades of deeply looking for love and never finding it. This was something that really transformed it, and here’s what it was. I stopped looking for love in my old ways, which in those days as a gay man in New York City, involved the clubs, the parties, and all of those kinds of things. It’s not that I didn’t adore dancing and continue dancing even when I changed these patterns because I did, but changing these patterns changed my world and changed my life.

    The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.CLICK TO TWEETIt was saying that I’m not just going to look for people in those ways, which now is just somewhat kind of mindless, habitual, or non-soulful approach to finding love online, which I think is the common way that people do that now. Instead, saying that you are going to think about what your deepest passions, interests, and values are, and that you are going to go to, at this point, online environments  When you can go to non-online environments, fantastic, but there’s so much online too, with people who deeply share the values and passions that matter the most to you.

    DDP 102 | Speed Love
    Speed Love: We need a community or a person we can learn from, have insights, and practice those insights with.

     

    I have been a therapist for a really long time, working with people who are single and looking for relationships. I would say this is, in many ways, the single most powerful tool. I have story after story in my head of people finally doing this, finally going to the events, joining the communities with people who share their deepest values. Maybe they didn’t find their partner there, but they met someone who introduced them to their partner, or they met someone who introduced them to another event that really fed their passions, and they met their partner there. I can’t tell you how many stories of that I’ve heard, because when we’re in environments like that, we begin to glow. We begin to show who we really are. It’s easier and more comfortable to do that with people who share the things that matter the most to you. When you do that, you become more beautiful. You become more alive. You are more noticed by people who are looking for someone like you.

    It’s a humbling thing to admit the ways you are pushing love away, even as you’re seeking it.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s not going to be the first time that you go to an event like that, that you meet your soulmate probably, or the second or the third, but I pretty much promise you that you will dramatically speed your path to finding your one when you do this. It’s not that there’s not other work to do and other patterns that need to be changed, etc., but this is the place to start if you want a really big bang for your buck. You could even do that. I encourage you to take one of these things on right now, if you can, or at some point today. Look online for events and communities with people who care about the same things you care about, and join and connect. Look for events and communities, particularly with a good number of people of the gender or genders that you’re interested in.

    DDP 102 | Speed Love
    Speed Love: There’s almost nothing that you’re going to get a bigger bang for your buck in your search for love than admitting the places where your fear of intimacy holds you back and, full-heartedly with support, addressing those things.

     

    There are also niche dating sites that you can find that have a lot smaller numbers of people, but at the same time, they also have people who share the things that really matter to you. In fact, on DeeperDating.com, we’re very clear of offering ways that people can search for people who share their values, interests, and passions. Something I really believe in if you get out there and do that, it will enrich you and it will also speed your path. What I would love is for a bunch of people listening now to try that, and to then go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com under the Ask Ken section. Leave me a message telling me about what your experience was and what it was like, so I can begin to share these experiences with other people. It is different to do that. It is wiser and smarter dating.

    Finding A Learning Partner

    Next, find a learning partner. Literally, these three tools will change your future. They truly will so much more than a lot of the habitual patterns that probably, if you’re anything like I was, and like so many of us are, you’ve tried again and again but haven’t necessarily worked. Find a learning partner. How do you find a learning partner? You go through your list of connections. You look for someone preferably single, but they don’t have to be single, because you can support them in whatever area they want to grow in. It’s nice if it’s two single people doing that. There’s something really good about that. Someone who has integrity. Someone who doesn’t hurt you, who cares about you, who has your best interest at heart. Someone who has good character and someone who is willing to grow, change, and work toward their goal. Someone with a rich sense of insight. Those people are A-team. They are our gold.

    There is almost no greater meat and potatoes intimacy skill than seeing the ways we’re not available for love and then changing it.CLICK TO TWEETIf you find somebody like that, and you commit to just connecting together for half an hour a week, making plans and bringing mindfulness and awareness to your search for love, you can use a template of learning. Any teacher that you want, including my work, the Deeper Dating work, but any template you want. The two of you could use that together and you could go through it. Every week you could touch base to bring more power, bravery, depth, habit-breaking, risk-taking, vulnerability, and commitment to love, to your journey. I pretty much promise you, you will shave off vast amounts of time in your search for healthy love if you do this. The research backs this up 1,000%. We need a community or a person with whom we can learn, have insights, practice those insights, and do all of the failing, rewiring, bitching, complaining, sharing, longing, yearning, complaining some more. All the things that we do with people that we feel safe with when we’re on a journey with them, that you will get to do that with them.

    There will be so many points where you bring something up, and they’re just going to say something, and it’s going to touch you. It’s going to open a door and it’s going to spark a kind of ambition to growth and healing. That is beautiful. We learn from jumping from stone to stone, from rock to rock. Sometimes I think of the wiser dating journey as being like the Parkour. There you are, and there’s a ledge in front of you. There’s a space you can’t get through, so you look at what’s the next ledge that you could somehow get to, which for you, for me, for us is the next point of insight, the next point of understanding, the next point of commitment. Those insights are our fuel. We leap from where we are into that insight and it brings us to the next ledge, to the next rock, to the next point. We wait for insight and we get insight from our learning partner. We get insight from our practices, from our growth, and when we get that, we just make a leap. How does this Parkour person get from one point to another that looks just completely crazy? They do it by looking at the next point that they can leap to.

    DDP 102 | Speed Love
    Speed Love: Do not fear intimacy but begin to learn its language, work with it, and create transformation.

     

    For us, it’s our next insight. When you do this work in a more conscious way, you will have insights. You’ll say, “I’ve been pushing this really nice person away without even realizing it,” or “There’s a person I’m interested in and I am just totally too afraid to let them know. I hang out with them on a regular basis, but I don’t truly tell them,” or whatever it is. Those are the points that we need to leap to when we get those insights. You will get them with your learning partner. You will make a commitment to take that leap, and then you will meet with your learning partner, and report on how you did. It makes all the difference in the world, not to mention, it’s free and it’s fun. That’s point number two. If you weren’t going to do point number one or even if you were, if you can go through your list of contacts, find someone, ask them and concretize this, your year will be different. Your search for love will be different, and hence, your future will be different. These are real things.

    Admit You Are Pushing Love Away

    The third is a little bit harder. It takes a lot of courage. It is incredibly powerful. You get a huge bang for your buck with this one. You truly do. You change your field. You change your future. That is to admit. It’s a humbling thing to admit the ways that you are pushing love away even as you’re seeking it. Maybe you keep choosing people that you know in your guts aren’t going to be right for you or aren’t going to be good for you. Maybe you keep choosing people that you’re not deeply passionate about because they’re safer. Maybe you find that you’re drinking too much or smoking too much. Maybe it’s internet porn. Maybe you meet wonderful people, and then you kind of feel the need to flee. These are humbling things to face, but let me tell you, if you can, with the help of your learning partner or on your own, but hopefully with the help of your learning partner or therapist or coach, if you can find the ways that you are pushing love away consciously, unconsciously, semi-consciously, and you can admit those things to yourself, it’s very humbling, but it is very life changing.

    If you can make a plan to change that, and then please get the support you need because we do not change patterns just by willpower almost ever. That’s usually a myth. We do it and the research backs this up. I think 10% of people who want to change a really deeply entrenched pattern succeed unless they have a template for a process that they believe in, and they have a community of support where they can fail, pick themselves up, rewire and get support and care again and again. That’s who succeeds. If you can admit this humbling truth that almost against your own will, you are avoiding love, turning from it, pushing it away, not making yourself present for it. If you can do that, I believe that’s heroic, truly heroic. What I can almost completely promise you, but it’s something that I have found to be true again and again, when you address that, when you change that, there will be ways that your world will open. The people you meet will be different. The way you interact with them will be different, and your luck will shift.

    There’s almost nothing that you’re going to get a bigger bang for your buck around in your search for love than admitting the places where your fear of intimacy holds you back, and full-heartedly with support, addressing those things. It changes your luck. It changes your field. This may take some searching to find a path that you really believe in, teachings that you believe in, support that feels safe and that you really believe in. This is something I’ve found to be really true in my own life. There is almost no greater meat and potatoes intimacy skill than seeing the ways that we’re not available for love, and admitting it and longing to change, and then practicing changing. That is one of the most central intimacy skills that exist, not to be beyond our fear of intimacy, but to begin to learn its language, to work with it, and to create transformation.

    Thank you for listening. Before we end this episode, I want to encourage you to just take a minute. I encourage you not to get through and pass this episode without doing this. Consider picking one of these. Allow yourself to become a kind of growth athlete in your search for love. It’s a joyful, empowering, wonderful experience. It’s like that great experience when you exercise, and all of a sudden, you notice that you have more strength, more resilience, more muscle, more bounce. It’s just the best feeling. The same is true in our search for love when we start to really bring wisdom to it. There’s a joy that happens when we know that we’re really making change around something that matters so much. I deeply encourage each one of you to try at least one of these things. Just take it on. Take on all three if you really are ready to go for it and watch what happens. Thank you so much for listening. Go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com or DeeperDating.com. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP101]

    In this Deeper Dating Q&A episode, listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his direct personal advice. Today, we’ll explore how to recognize your Core Gifts, how to understand and recognize marijuana overuse in a partner, how to understand your attraction patterns, ….and more!

    Table of Contents

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing questions about love, sex, and intimacy. The goal is that you’ll leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, new revelations about your own love life, so stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating and Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new online dating experience where single people can meet online in a way that’s kind, inspiring, and respectful. Every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the true skills of dating are nothing more than the true skills of intimacy. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and get transcripts to every single one of my episodes. Also, everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice, or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that, and let’s jump in.

    What goes up has to come down. After the high, there is a low.CLICK TO TWEET

    Attraction Patterns

    The first question is from Laura, and she has two questions. Number one is the idea of attractions of inspiration and attractions of deprivation. Is that a spectrum or is that very black and white? For those new listeners, I’m just going to say a little bit really quickly about what attractions of inspiration and deprivation are. Episode 10 explains these two different kinds of attractions in much greater detail, but an attraction of deprivation is when we get attracted to somebody because their love and their availability seems so close, but it’s not there. We think we need to change ourselves and fix ourselves, or change and fix them to finally get it right, and we get lost in those relationships often for a really long time, and they’re very seductive. An attraction of inspiration is when you’re attracted to someone because of their integrity, their goodness, their growing availability, and their decency.

    It’s a very different circuitry of attraction. One leads to pain and one leads to the real potential for happiness, so absolutely it’s a spectrum. There is nobody who is a perfect attraction of inspiration. There’s nobody, well, I don’t know about nobody, but probably really close to nobody, who is a pure attraction of deprivation. There can be extremes in either of those cases, but you want to look for one where in your heart you can say, “This is deeply, truly, and essentially an attraction of inspiration.” The other part of the question is, can one partner in a partnership be attracted out of inspiration and the other person be attracted out of deprivation? That’s a really interesting question and definitely, that is a possibility. One partner can be deeply inspired by the other partner, and that other partner could feel like, “This person is really just not able to meet my needs,” so yes, absolutely.

    DDP 101 | Relationship And Dating Advice
    Relationship And Dating Advice: One of the signs of an addiction is that you use a substance to get away from, control, or medicate certain symptoms.

     

    Understanding And Recognizing Marijuana Use In A Partner

    Next question, “Hi, Ken, I love your show and your book, and I’m a big fan. I am starting in a new relationship after having been single for most of the past five years. We’re almost two months in, and this guy is really great. He’s everything on my man list and more. He’s fun. He’s sweet. He’s got a successful career. He successfully raised a son. He has multiple degrees. He’s very thoughtful and romantic. He’s a wonderful lover and he’s supportive of me. He follows through in his words. He’s responsible with money, and he has plans for the future that even include me now. He’s asked me if I want to be included. All of that sounds so fabulous. The only issue I have is that he smokes marijuana on a regular basis after work or when he’s done with his responsibilities. I don’t have a problem with recreational marijuana use, but it concerns me when it’s almost every day. He doesn’t drink too much. I’m afraid to tell my friends about this because I don’t want them to tell me that I shouldn’t be with him because he is so great. I would love your feedback.”

    My first thought is this guy sounds great and there’s such good here, and I just want to really acknowledge that. What I would say simply is conversation is needed. One of the signs of an addiction is that you use a substance to get away from or to control or to medicate certain symptoms. That’s a real question. If he needs to smoke every day, what is he doing it for? Is it to calm down? Is it to get more relaxed? Is it to listen to music? What are his reasons for doing it? Because there are issues that he is medicating by doing that, and that’s an important thing. That’s an important thing to be aware of.

    Our Core Gifts are the qualities in us that are the most tender, sensitive, and passionate. They are the deepest inner petals of our being.CLICK TO TWEETThe other thing is that research shows really simply, what goes up has to come down. The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is THC, which activates cannabinoid receptors that are found in the brain. Those receptors are really important and they allow us to experience novel sensations. They relax us. They give us a zing in terms of our experiencing of life. All these things happen, but the reverse happens as well. The receptors in our brain, which can allow us to experience these novel sensations, this relaxation, this richer experience of life actually diminish when we smoke weed too regularly. People who use marijuana regularly have 20% fewer of those receptors in their brain’s cortex, and it takes a month of total abstinence to be able to upregulate to the normal levels. In other words, after the high, there is a low, and here are some of the symptoms of that low. After your high, there’s a restlessness and a fidgety feeling, and often it’s worse when you’re trying to go to sleep. There’s anxiety, irritability, loss of appetite, boredom, which is the opposite of novelty, which marijuana helps you enjoy in an even more intense way, and insomnia.

    All of those things can come with different parts of life, and it takes a rigorous degree of honesty to say, “Do I feel like I smoke or I get high because I want more of the opposite of those negative things?” Because when you’re used to smoking weed every day, you experience these negative symptoms and then you use the weed to try to get over them. There’s a cycle that happens there and it takes, as I said, a month of abstinence to actually notice if there are shifts and changes. You are changing your brain, and so many people talk about a kind of quality of irritability or boredom. There is certainly research proven – less ability to enjoy and delight in novel experiences in life, with the diminishment of those receptors.

    DDP 101 | Relationship And Dating Advice
    Relationship And Dating Advice: When you’re used to smoking weed every day, you experience these negative symptoms and then use the weed to try to get over them. There’s a cycle that happens.

     

    There’s something called Amotivational Syndrome, which is that you lack the motivation to take part in activities. There’s a diminishment of motivation. Short-term memory loss happens. Some distorted sensory perception happens, and over time there could be personality changes as well. These are things to be concerned about, and I think things to think about, research a little bit, and share in conversation in an ongoing way about your concerns. Hopefully, he will be willing to listen, reconsider, and explore further. Good luck with this because he sounds like an amazing guy, and this is an issue that will need exploration and discussion.

    The Wave

    Next, “Hello, Ken, I have a question about the wave,” and the wave is what I think of as the single biggest saboteur of healthy new love. I talk about it in a lot of detail in Episode 39, but I know it destroyed my capacity to find love for decades. It’s when someone is really available, decent, and present, and all of a sudden, you just want to flee. You feel claustrophobic. Your interest plummets. You feel judgmental of that person. In my experience, more than half the people at events that where I’m teaching experience the wave.

    The journey to accept, name, and treasure our Core Gifts is the journey that changes everything in our dating life.CLICK TO TWEET“My recently ex-boyfriend and I are in our late 50s so we’ve been dating for three years. The first year we spent in the same state, the last two we’ve been traveling back and forth between nearby states, and I was set to move to his state. I had a wonderful job opportunity, and we had discussed closing the distance gap for a while. This seemed like the chance to do it, but the bottom fell out of my heart when he balked. There was no sincerity in his voice. I asked if he still saw a future for us, because he’d been acting kind of distant for the past few months, which I attributed to the wave. A week after my job interview, I was back in my state and he sent me a breakup email. He wanted to remain friends but in the last few months, he’s actually become surly and angry even at his dog. His sister says he’s been dating randomly, even during COVID. This is not the man I’ve known for three years. I’m concerned for him, but I just want to know if this is wave behavior or perhaps this is his true personality.”

    Here’s what I’d like to say about that. This does not seem like just the wave. The wave is a wave. It is not sustained. There’s a quality of anger and disconnection that is indicative of a real problem here. I don’t know if it’s an addiction problem of some sort that would often manifest in this kind of a way, or if you’re seeing qualities in his personality that apart from addiction are really part of his characteralogical structure. I would say this doesn’t seem like the wave. It’s too sustained. It’s too angry. It’s too unpleasant. This is for some reason him. I think the chances are significant that there’s some kind of trauma or some kind of addiction, because it’s different than he’s ever been before. It makes me want to ask listeners, have you ever had an experience like that where someone seemed like one person, and then they shifted so significantly, and that shift remained sustained or kept coming back again and again?

    DDP 101 | Relationship And Dating Advice
    Relationship And Dating Advice: Trauma surgically bonds terrible feelings to precious parts of our being. We need to separate that bond by learning to love those parts of ourselves.

     

    What was that? Might that have been addiction in retrospect? Might that have been a mental illness? Might that have been the effects of serious trauma? It’s very important for us to know, but what I would say here is just like they say in the 12 Step Program. Remember the three Cs. You did not cause this. You cannot control this and you cannot cure it. There’s a real problem here that he’s going through. It is a good thing that you are not with him because these are real problems that it doesn’t seem like he’s addressing. As painful and as hard as that is, I celebrate the good parts of what you’ve had but it does seem like it’s really time to move on.

    Your Core Gifts

    Here’s a question from Lisa in the Netherlands. “Dear, Mr. Page. I bought your book I think a year ago, and I want to say thank you because I think it’s the first time in my life that I really have hoped to find someone who can actually love me for who I am. I have a question because it’s hard for me to find out what my Core Gifts are, and the problem is that I see again and again, when I go to that place of myself and my gifts, I get stuck. I grew up in a family where I was rejected for almost everything. I was too sensitive. I was too smart. I was too honest. I was too fierce. I was too shy. I was too strong. Nothing was okay, so I’ve done a lot of things to really start embracing and accepting myself, but when you say, ‘What’s your Core Gift?’ I just don’t know, so how can you find out what your Core Gift is when there’s so much rejection in your life in so many aspects?”

    This is a wonderful question. What I would say to you first, Lisa, is that you just named your Core Gifts in what you said. Now this concept, folks, of Core Gift is a really rich, deep, and important one. It’s something I speak about a lot in my book and in an ongoing way in this podcast. Our Core Gifts are the qualities in us, which are the most tender, sensitive, passionate. They are the deepest inner petals of our being, and often we have shame around them. We’re embarrassed around them. Their uniqueness scares us or embarrasses us. We’ve been shamed or hurt around them. The degree to which we don’t accept these attributes of ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be sexually and romantically attracted to people who aren’t good for us.

    The journey to accept and name and treasure these Core Gifts is the journey that changes everything in our dating life, and when we learn to not just accept these qualities but cherish them, our attractions change, our love life changes, and our life changes in powerful ways, which is why this Deeper Dating journey is one of the richest journeys that a human being can experience in their life. What I would say to you, Lisa, is that the depth and richness of your being, frightened or, intimidated your family. I would say that you listed all your Core Gifts. You are deeply sensitive. You are smart. You’re really honest. You’re fierce. You’re also shy. You’re powerful but you’re also tender. You named all the qualities, and here’s something I want to say about this. In my work with people, in my intensives, in my courses, in everything around Core Gifts, once this concept becomes clear, what are the places where you are touched most deeply by life in pain or in joy and meaning? Those speak to your Core Gifts.

    There is in the book, and actually if you go to DeeperDating.com and you subscribe to my mailing list, you’ll get the first two chapters of the book in which I teach you all of the ways to discover and identify your Core Gifts. When you discover them, when people acknowledge and see, using these methods, their Core Gift, you just did that, Lisa, by saying, “What were the things I have been rejected for in my life?” The hardest part is to actually say, “Yup, those are Core Gifts. I am going to accept that these are treasures, that there is genius here, that there is power here, that these really are mine.” That’s harder than actually even finding and naming these qualities, and Lisa, that’s what I would say. You named them and you listed them, and each one is to be treasured. That’s the task, is the growing ability to treasure, honor, and listen to those parts of you.

    Trauma surgically bonds terrible feelings to precious parts of our being. We need to separate that bond by learning to love those parts of ourselves. The first step is naming them. The next step is learning to treasure them, and understand the gifts that they give us. Along with that is this incredibly important step of finding our tribe, the people who love these qualities about us. All of those pieces are necessary and yes, it’s a hard journey, especially if there’s been trauma, but that’s the journey you are on, Lisa. Thank you for that question. I will be answering more questions in the next Q&A episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. I thank everybody for joining me. I will see you in the next episode, and if you go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, join my mailing list, you’ll get lots more information about resources around this entire deeper journey to love. Thank you so much.

  • How To Liberate Yourself From The Dating Slog [EP100]

    It’s the 100th episode! And there’s no way around it; dating can feel like an unhappy repetition of the same disappointing, time-consuming and frustrating old experiences. Here are some wonderful techniques to bring you back to inspiration, courage and a wonderful sense of new direction – and perhaps even fun. In this episode, you’ll find the hope it sometimes feels like you’ve lost.

    Table of Contents

     

    Today on the 100th episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast, I talk about all the difficult crossroads we hit on our dating journeys, and what to do to bring wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to those difficult moments. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the 100th episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and I’m the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a way for people to meet online in an environment that’s respectful, warm, and inspiring. Today in this podcast, I’m going to talk about that difficult period on the dating journey when we’ve learned new skills and gained new wisdom, but we haven’t found our partner yet. This week and in every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are the skills of love. The skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You’ll get free gifts and you’ll be able to see transcripts of every one of the 100 episodes, and I hope you enjoy that. Also, everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re concerned about certain symptoms or conditions that you’re experiencing, please do seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, I’d love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that, and let’s jump in.

    In the work that I teach in my courses, in my intensives, in my book, and in my life journey, something that just really hits me, I mean, of course what hits me, and this is something I say a lot, which is there is hardly a day that ever goes by that I am not humbled by my clay feet when it comes to intimacy. I’m not happy about the things that I see that I need to work on, but I am happy because I see them and I work on them, because they hurt me, because they cause me pain, and I know that there are things that I need to work on. I’m just kind of in a very ongoing way in my relationships, pretty committed to that, but really, every step of the intimacy journey shows us our clay feet. Every step of the intimacy journey brings up new questions. We’re constantly, and we should be constantly, pondering with a kind of awe of what our stuck places are. How the same patterns seem to happen again and again. How hard it may be to extricate ourselves from that, as well as all the other wonderful things about the love that we have and the connections that we have.

    I think that we do a disservice on social media and elsewhere, where we celebrate how fabulous our relationship is and how fabulous our life is because we want to be teachers of how fabulous we’ve gotten, and how other people can learn from us, and get that fabulous too. That saddens me a lot because I think it’s those humbling moments that are the sacred ones. That’s where we build. That’s where we grow. In the dating journey, I spend a lot of time in my classes, teaching people what I think are the foundations of wiser dating. I say this all the time, what I teach these four stages of discovering, naming, and treasuring your CORE GIFTS, understanding in a deeper way your patterns of attraction, and what they can teach you, and need to teach you about the places where you don’t love yourself, and the places where you do love yourself, about your bravery in life, and actually being who you are and choosing people who treasure that. That’s all stage two.

    DDP 100 | Dating Slog
    Dating Slog: It’s the humbling moments that are the sacred ones. That’s where we build and grow.

     

    Stage three is the bravery of getting out there in new and different ways, and having growth adventures in an ongoing basis in our dating lives, hopefully with help, hopefully with support. The fourth stage is the rewiring that has to happen as we enter, because when we do these steps, we lose our taste for relationships that chip away our sense of self-worth. All of a sudden, we are having relationships with people who are kinder, more available, less roller-coastery, more caring, and more interested. This happens gradually, but it happens, and then there is a whole rewiring when our attraction is not based on fear of abandonment but instead, fear of intimacy because we’re with someone who’s really present. There’s so much rewiring ongoing that needs to happen that’s rich and important, and it’s an everyday kind of thing. These are the stages of the journey.

    The Slow Part Of The Journey

    I think that when I teach people about CORE GIFTS, it’s so powerful and so liberating for people to understand that, especially when we do the deep intensive work. It’s such a liberating, wonderful thing that there’s just a great sense of hope, and then people see that they are beginning to meet different kinds of people, that maybe their field or their understanding of themselves is actually beginning to shift. That is also fabulous, wonderful, empowering and exciting. Then there’s kind of like what happens between then and when you find your partner. That can be slow-going and hard. There can be repetitions of so many sadnesses and so many lonelinesses. That’s a hard part of the journey in very unique ways. Every part of the journey is humbling. It’s both humbling and thrilling, good, and wonderful when we heal and when we grow. We discover new mastery, but it’s all humbling too. This stage where we’re looking, and it hasn’t happened yet, and it could feel like that’s going on for way too long, can be a really difficult stage.

    I remember a dream I had once when I was fiercely, deeply into my intimacy journey, my desire to change the way that I date. I hope that for all of you, you are reaching a point where you can say, “I am deeply into my intimacy journey. I am learning, I am working on this, I’m really trying, I’m learning things, I’m changing.” If you can say that, there’s just such hope in that, but I remember very much being in that place of learning and growing, and very much still being single. I remember a dream I had. There was a couple that fell deeply, deeply in love. I was watching this in my dream, and they were kissing each other, and they were so deeply in love. I somehow ended up having this beautiful, dewy rose in my hand. This beautiful rose with dew on it, it was my rose.

    Every step of the intimacy journey shows us our clay feet.CLICK TO TWEETThey were so in love and I handed them the rose, and they really appreciated it, then they were out of the dream. I was filled with bittersweetness and I just wept. I was glad that I gave them that rose, but I was just viscerally experiencing my loneliness. For me, that period where I finally let myself stop rushing and could feel my loneliness, I knew that was a sign of progress. That dream I knew was a harbinger of something new. I could feel, even though it hurt, that I was on my way. What I would want for all of you that are on this journey is that you feel like, “It’s not going as perfectly as I wanted. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. I’m growing and I feel progress. I’m learning lessons of authenticity, truth, kindness and revealing, and making better choices,” because that’s such a huge one, is the choices we make.

    I say this a lot. We focus all the time on how attractive we are, and so not enough on our patterns of attraction. I’ve never done an episode like this before, where I just riff on the things that I think are important. I’m always a lot more prepared. You may have a different experience with this. I hope it’s a useful experience because the subject of what it’s like in the middle is such a big deal. Here’s maybe the greatest thing that I want to tell you, is don’t do it alone. Don’t do it alone. I used to love watching Sex and the City. I mean, these women were hitting up against their own brick walls again and again and again, but they at least got to have fun with each other and laugh and talk.

    I know for me, I needed friends who could guide me. I’ve mentioned this before. I created a support group for chronically single psychotherapists. It was only a few of us, but these were very wonderful people. Each week, we would come in with our struggles, what was happening in our dating life, where we were getting stuck, you know that experience of again and again, “Damn, I am hitting up against the same walls. I feel inept and I feel stuck, and I feel inadequate. What do I do?” Each of us would speak and the other members would hold what we said with care, and with what I call “cupped hands”. In that being held, my friends would notice openings that I didn’t see, like when you have a giant knot and you don’t know what to do with it, but there’s one thread that you could pull at and create an opening. They would notice these openings and they would share them with me. I still remember how pivotal that was, and how that changed my journey and other people’s journeys too. Many people in that group are now married and in couples. It’s just too hard a journey to do alone, and it’s not a smart journey to do alone because we will, even with help, again and again and again, play out old patterns.

    There’s pretty much no class that I teach where I don’t encourage people to have a learning partner, in my audio course, in my book, in my intensive. In fact, even on DeeperDating.com, when people fill out their profiles, I ask if they are interested in finding a learning partner, and there’s actually a special functionality where you can click to look for learning partners from anywhere who can pair with you, to take this journey with you and learn together, and grow together. I just can’t say how much I believe in the importance of that. Also, it could be a lonely journey, and this helps. It helps a lot. It’s kind of crazy actually to think that we can do this by ourselves, and so much of the education and the advice out there tells us, “Just change this, just change this, just change this,” but change is not easy. This is such a truth that we forget again and again.

    DDP 100 | Dating Slog
    Dating Slog: Intimacy is just too hard a journey to do alone. Find a learning partner so that you can work together.

     

    Beautiful Forks In The Road

    Every day, I wake up thinking I am going to get so much done. Every day at the end of the day, I think, “Oh my God, I got so much less done than my most conservative picture of what I could get done could even show.” I got done less than that. I’m 64 years old. I do this every single day. Change is not an easy thing. Rewiring is just not an easy thing. That’s something else I just want to talk about. I want to talk about the beauty of bewildering crossroads. How many times have you been in a situation in your dating life or your life-life where you’re like, “Damn, I am here again at this stuck place where I’ve done the same thing again,” or where, “I feel not seen, not heard, disappointed or betrayed, again. It’s happening again and I’m helpless because I don’t know how to stop this?” A bewildering point where you just don’t know how to behave or how to handle something, or you’re frustrated, resentful or angry. These are the intimacy crossroads that we experience, and they’re holy and powerful. Left to our own devices, whatever it is that our kind of inner kid told us is the best way to do this, push through, ignore other people’s needs. Only focus on other people’s needs and ignore our needs.

    The tendency, the fierce, fierce wired tendency is to do the same things. When we’re connected with someone or when we’re connected with our own inner wisdom, and I’m going to lead you in a beautiful process for your crossroads in just a couple of minutes, but whenever we’re in that situation, it’s a place to deconstruct as opposed to push through in our old ways. I think that’s an act of intimacy greatness when at those crossroads where we’re triggered, stuck, bewildered, pissed off, hurt, irritated, whatever things we are, confused, lonely. We have an old pattern of how we’re going to get through that that just somehow has not really worked that great. We can stop and somehow deconstruct, like soften around that hardened pattern, get brave around the ways that we avoid, whatever it is that we can come to that crossroads and rest, think, connect, and find some wisdom. Find some wisdom and do it differently.

    That’s magic. That builds the foundation for the life that we dream of, the life that we want. Such a rich thing these crossroads, and God knows, kazillions of crossroads, I do the same way, but those crossroads where I can stop and decenter, often by getting advice from wise, loving friends, or by doing this Inner Mentor Process, which is my favorite process in the world, and which many of you have done already. This is a crossroads process because again and again, when I’m at a stuck place, I do this Inner Mentor Process and I deconstruct my stuck place, and a breeze of wisdom comes in. I start to see the good there. I see the possibility. I see the potential. I soothe myself. I have a sense of grace, and then some wisdom pours in that’s just like essence of the best of me, and my ancestors, and the people that love me and support me, and my teachers. I can feel it. I can feel the goodness, the sweetness, the airiness, and the spaciousness of the insight that I am given when I’m at this crossroads, and I do the Inner Mentor Process, which I do pretty much every day, and I’d like to do a number of times every day. That’s a goal of mine. I would love to lead you in this process because this is a way to find a friend, and it’s the friend of the you that you were born to be. It’s a friend of the you that is soft, caring, wise, strong and grounded. It’s the you that people who love you get to see and feel at your best. It’s your magic place.

    Change is not an easy thing. We have a fierce, wired tendency to do the same things again and again.CLICK TO TWEET

    Becoming Your Inner Mentor

    Let’s do this. I’d like you to just close your eyes and just take a moment, and just relax. If you’ve had me do this Inner Mentor Process with you before, awesome, let’s do it again. You’re going to get a different set of guidance. Maybe you’ll get the same set of guidance but it will land in a different way. Get comfortable. I’d like you to remember a time that you felt really comfortable in your own skin; healthy, solid, good, and positive. Just remember a moment, a time when you felt that way. Don’t look for perfection in the way that you visualize this because my visualizations are like Swiss cheese, like moments of getting it, big moments if not, big holes. That’s fine. I love visualization because I accept that mine are like Swiss cheese. Give yourself that grace and that freedom. Also, you don’t have to have the perfect memory, just a general memory and even just little moments of glimpse.

    Do that and remember that very unique, good feeling of feeling right in your own skin. Now I want you to remember a time that you felt a deep and beautiful love. I would just ask that it not be like a memory that is traumatic, that traumatizes you, in other words, like someone who betrayed you. Even if the person is not alive and you might have sadness, but it still is not traumatic and it holds goodness, that’s a fine memory. A time that you felt filled with a big and great and deep love. It could have been a spiritual moment, it could have been in nature, it doesn’t matter. Just remember what that was like. Gently and graciously hold that memory. I think of it like a breeze with a beautiful scent. You don’t smell it all the time, but there are moments that you do, and then you just enjoy that. That’s how I’d like you to remember this moment, if that fits for you.

    Just hold that to your heart what that’s like. Now I’d like you to remember a time that you were at a crossroads, and you deconstructed an old way of behaving, and handled it in a better way and felt really good as a result. A time you did something different. You pivoted from an old, not helpful way. You did something wiser and it worked that it was good. Remember what that felt like, just hold that memory. Now I just want you to imagine the you that lives that way, like a you that is the enlightened you, that lives in the flow of those feelings. It’s an imagination. You don’t have to be there yet. You just imagine this you. On some level, it’s so close to you. It’s like a sibling. It’s so close because you know that you. It’s you. It’s the you you’re meant to be. It’s the you unblocked. It’s the you beautiful.

    Picture that you, imagine that you, full throttle, open, relaxed, present, essence of you. Now I want you to imagine that you become that you, just for the moment. It’s an imagination exercise, but it’s awesome, because it’s a practice to actually move toward becoming that you. Just imagine that you are that you, and that you actually step into that role. You step into the body, the heart and the face, behind the eyes of that you. In your guts, in your kishkes, in your heart, you’re you, in your fingertips. You are this you, and just feel and imagine what that’s like.

    DDP 100 | Dating Slog
    Dating Slog: In this slow, sluggish, confusing crossroads of dating, it’s wonderful to know that you can tap into a place of goodness, wisdom and guidance.

     

    Now, look at the you of today. I want you to speak out loud if you can or write it down. You can pause this if you like, and just take some time to let the words and the wisdom pool, and then unspool, and come out. Just take some time to do this. Share whatever guidance you want with the you of today. Good. Now, imagine opening your arms and now you’re hugging each other, and it’s the you of today and the you that you’re meant to be, your Inner Mentor, your full, full self. What that’s like to hug each other, to feel the differentness and the sameness. Feel that lovely hug, slowly open your eyes, come back, and what you wrote, what you said is your meditation for the day. That’s your perfect, couldn’t be better, daily meditation. All you have to do is love this message. By loving it, it will change you. By doing this process, the more you do it, the more you’re going to get close and friendly, and become that Inner Mentor self.

    I encourage you to use this in the slow, sloggy, confusing crossroads of dating, crossroads of all relationships. It’s so sweet and wonderful to know that you can tap into a place that has such goodness, wisdom and guidance. We need that guidance again and again. We need the kind, soft touch of caring guidance to help us steer right again and again. Thank you so much for listening to the 100th episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast, and I look forward to connecting with you in the next episode.

  • 4 Beautiful, Powerful V-Day Gifts For Singles And Couples! [EP099]
    Valentine’s Day.. a loaded and emotional time for many of us. Here are four of the most wonderful intimacy hacks I know, V Day or not! I absolutely love each one of these. Two are for single people, two are for people in relationships, and they are interchangeable. Anyone can modify these practices to apply to their circumstances. Enjoy! Share your stories. I want to hear!

    Table of Contents

    In this episode, I’m going to share four beautiful, profound, and amazing hacks for deeper intimacy, especially for Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or coupled. Stay tuned to this episode. The 99th episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody. Welcome to the 99th episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a space for people to meet online in an environment that is inspiring, warm, safe, and fun. Today, in this podcast for Valentine’s Day, I am going to share some very powerful, beautiful, and eye-opening hacks for deeper love for single people and for people who are in couples.

    This week and every week, I want to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest and most important skills of all for a life that has happiness, joy, meaning, and comfort. If you want to know more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you’ll receive free gifts. You’ll get a lot of free resources, and you’ll learn a lot more about using these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    DDP 99 | Valentines Day Hacks
    Valentines Day Hacks: The way to create lasting change is to find a template of understanding that is wiser to you, and then find a community or a person with whom you can have support.

     

    If you’re interested in DeeperDating.com to meet people, just go to DeeperDating.com, and you can sign up for free and start connecting in a very different way with people. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. Also, I just want to say that if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you for letting me give that little plug there, and let’s dive in.

    I want to start with single folks, having lived for decades as a single person looking for a relationship. I was reading recently about a research and what it says about what to do when you just wake up in the middle of the night, and you can’t go back to sleep because something is bothering you. That happens to me sometimes. I was very interested in this. What it said is that the research shows that one technique that really works is that you have paper and a pen right next to you by the bed. If you wake up and something is spinning around in your head, you will have a much better chance of getting to sleep if you do this. You write down what the issue is, and you make a commitment to yourself that you are going to tackle this in a conscious and thoughtful way, and then you are much more likely to be able to get past the anxiety and go to sleep.

    I think that that concept with something difficult, taking some kind of a conscious action is so important. Valentine’s Day, a suggestion for a process that you can do. First, I think it’s a great thing to celebrate in some way by nourishing yourself, whether that’s being alone, ordering insanely fabulous take out, having a Zoom call, or depending on who you can be with, being with somebody who you really love and feel safe with, and making a commitment. Creating a contract with yourself that in the year ahead, you are going to find a path, an approach to finding love that is deep, smart, practical and suits you, and that you’re going to commit to it.

    That’s going to take a bit of research to find the work that speaks to you the most, and you can search and search for a teacher whose work really speaks to you. There are a number of great teachers out there. Finding the work that really speaks to you, and then getting a learning partner, a buddy, or joining a community of people doing that same kind of work if that teacher has an ongoing kind of course going on. Because the research shows that the way to create change that lasts is to find a template of understanding that is wiser to you, and then find a community or a person with whom you can have support. Those are the keys. Those are the research-backed keys.

    We live in great poverty of understanding what our deepest gifts are, and that makes us spin around in circles.CLICK TO TWEETIf you make this next year one where you make that commitment, the gifts will be absolutely incredible because as you up-level your skillset at finding love, as you infuse wisdom, goodness, care, smarts, and discrimination into your search for love, you will feel better about yourself. You will feel more like you have a beautiful backbone. Your own unique flavor of wisdom will begin to take over the way that you do things, and you’ll have support at those crossroads where you get triggered in old ways.

    You’ll have a person with their arm around your shoulder, even though not literally, probably, saying to you what they see. That drop of infusion of wisdom from someone else at a juncture where there’s been tightness, fear, discomfort, and anger just makes all the difference in the world. It makes me think of Dorothy when she took that oil can, and she would just oil the joints of the Tin Man, and then he could move again. That is I think what happens when we get to these really reactive and difficult junctures, and somebody tells us something wise, and we soften and loosen. I’ve had that happen to me so many times in my intimacy life. I rely on that. I don’t know where I would be without that softening, wisening influence. If you give yourself that Valentine’s gift, I think it’s one of the most beautiful and precious gifts that you could give yourself.

    Write A Valentine’s Day Card

    Now, I want to share one for couples. This is actually one that is not just for couples, but it’s a great one for couples. Here’s what it is. You’re going to be probably writing a Valentine’s Day card. If you’re not, I really encourage you to. I encourage you in this card to really take the time to describe the things you most love, most respect, and most learn from about your partner. It’s easy to say that you love them and why you love them. That’s great. We want that in the card, but to then say what you respect them deeply for about who they are, and then getting really vulnerable. What you learned from them, what they teach you, because you’re with them, because they have gifts that you’re trying to cultivate that they’re better at, and of course, vice versa.

    You can make a pact that the two of you write this letter to each other. That’s even more fabulous, but in it, you put in all the words of what you love, respect, adore, and are attracted to about them. It feels very vulnerable to do it, but when you do it from that place, you will feel your Eros begin to loosen up like that same squeaky tin can thing. You will find your heart and your love begins to loosen, and your Eros begin to loosen up again. It’s also a really important process because we live in a kind of great poverty of understanding what our deepest gifts are, and that makes us spin around in circles. It’s very hard to go forward into a difficult world if we can’t name the treasures of our being, our Core Gifts which often have been stepped on or taken advantage of, but which are the treasures of our being in which our life’s task is to learn to become heroes around those qualities.

    DDP 99 | Valentines Day Hacks

    Valentines Day Hacks: As you up-level your skillset at finding love, you will feel better about yourself.[/caption]

     

    Your loved one can name those for you. It’s a beautiful process and it will last. It will last for you because of the things you get taught, because we need to be instructed in our deepest gifts, and the things that your partner will learn, the closeness that will happen, the way that both of you will be able to rest in a place of, “This is what they think of me. They might be really annoyed at me now. I might have been a pain in the ass. We might be going through a really difficult time, but there’s a shelf I can rest on, which is they do think this about me. They feel this about me.” We can hold that to our hearts and reframe, and rename our journey based on that understanding.

    We can move ahead remembering how much we’re loved by this person, because it’s so easy to stop remembering in day-to-day life how much this person treasures us, loves us, needs us, adores us, not at all moments, but in an essential general way. That is a practice that the two of you could do together, or the three of you. It is just fabulous. You can do it with anybody you love. This could be a Valentine’s gift.

    I love when my child was really little, everybody gave Valentines to everybody else. There are these little tiny Valentine’s and everybody gave them to everybody. I think that’s what Valentine’s Day should be. You could do this process to single folks with friends and coupled folks, you can do this with other people that you love too.

    Connect

    Next, single folks. There are so many different things. This is just a quick one, but I want to encourage you to look at the new wave of dating sites and functionalities using video, using ways to connect. I will say that my husband and I have put heart and soul into this new event, which is called Deeper Dating. It’s actually experience events online as well as an online platform. It’s built with love and for love. It’s built to incubate intimacy every step of the way throughout the process. We’d love to have you joined and you can join for free, and connect with people for free too, and hear about upcoming events in your area. This gives me great joy to be able to tell you about.

    Discover Your Inner Dating Coach

    The next kind of process or hack that I would love to share with you is one of my very favorite processes in the world. I do it pretty much every day. I have a buddy that we share our Inner Mentor Processes with. I’m going to tell you what it is. You’re going to discover your inner dating coach. Just follow me along with this. I just want you to imagine yourself, and I’m going to keep it pretty brief. You can find recordings of this. There’s an entire episode, it’s episode number three, focused on this exercise, but here’s a quick one. I like you to remember a time that you felt like your love was flowing freely and beautifully. There was that wonderful sense of love, not with someone who betrayed you. It doesn’t have to be with someone you’re with now, but when you do it, I don’t want you to do it about a relationship where there’s the flavor of betrayal in it.

    When we get to these really reactive and difficult junctures, and somebody tells us something wise, we soften and loosen.CLICK TO TWEETSomeone with whom you could think of this, and remember the good in a very rich way. A time that you felt like really the love flowing between you and another person. It does not have to be a romantic partner. It could be a child, it could be a grandparent, it could be anything, it could be a pet, but the way that it feels for you when love is flowing, when that oil can has really lubricated your being and love is moving through you. You don’t have to remember perfectly, but just remember the wonderfulness of that. I want you to remember a time that you felt really comfortable in your own skin, and how marvelous that feels to feel comfortable in your own skin. It could be at any point in your life, and you don’t have to bring it back perfectly. It could be a gentle wisp of a memory that comes in and out. It doesn’t have to be really strong or crisp by the time that you felt that and how that felt.

    We’re going to do one more. A time that you got through a relationship difficulty in a really good way with someone who could listen to you, where the two of you moved to a new positive place together, and you remember that there was learning in it and growth for you. It didn’t have to be a big change, but it was something where you said, “I’ve just learned something about how to love and how that felt,” how that feels in your heart. Now, I just want you to imagine, and it’s a fantasy, a you who loves freely as you, a you who stands in his or her or their own feet, loving as you are from the heart, and the soul, and the core of who you are. This is just you, like the you that you’re meant to be when you’re fully unfurled in love. Just picture that. You don’t have to earn it or be it right now, but just imagine it. Imagine what this being’s face looks like, how it feels in this being’s heart.

    Now, I’d like you to imagine that you jump into this self, this inner mentor, this you that you’re meant to be. Just jump in, it’s a fantasy. It’s just a fantasy, but it’s also not a fantasy because you know what it feels like on some level to be this being, because you’re in some ways almost there. Feel, imagine that you are there. You are actually there, you are this you, and look at the you of today. Right now, in your intimacy journey, from this place of essence of wonderful, unfurled you, what do you want to say to the you of today? If you have paper and pen, write it down, otherwise speak it out loud or whisper it, or just think it. Take a minute to do this. You can pause this for as long as you like.

    That is your inner mentor message. You can go back and do this so quickly. You could do it at the drop of a hat once you get comfortable, really quick. I promise you, at the crossroads of your intimacy choices when you do this, the response you get, the wisdom you get will move you in a different direction at those crossroads. Every one of those directions weaves you in a different life direction, in a different life pattern, and weaves you and moves you closer to richer, deeper love. Try this. Have this inner mentor be a dear partner to you. The other gift that happens with this is that the more you do it, the more you become that inner mentor, the more comfortable you are living in that amazing space. This is a treasure of an exercise, and I encourage you to use it, to do it, to do it every day, to do it really quickly, but watch what happens. You’re just going to love what happens.

    DDP 99 | Valentines Day Hacks
    Valentines Day Hacks: If you look at a graph of the trajectory of the quality of marital or spousal relationships, the quality of their connection and communication decreases year after year.[/caption]

     

    The Marriage Hack

    Next, this is for couples and it’s pretty cool. It’s called the marriage hack. This is a technique that is very highly researched. It was developed by Eli Finkel, a very renowned relationship expert and researcher. The marriage hack, and you can do this with close friends too. You can do it in all kinds of relationships, but this is an exercise that what Eli says is that it is the best 21 minutes that you will spend all year if you want to improve your life. The research shows that the quality of your spousal relationship affects the quality of your life more than anything else, including your health. It’s pretty wild. By healing the quality of our spousal relationships, we just bring so much more love and ease into our lives, and meaning, and possibility.

    If you look at a graph of the trajectory of marital or spousal relationship quality, you don’t have to be married, but it’s a committed relationship. If you look at a graph, you see that virtually, almost every couple, the quality of their connection decreases the quality of their communication, of their listening, of their treasuring. It gently decreases year after year. It’s a downward slope that’s almost universal, not a quick one in the cases of most healthy relationships but it’s a downward slope. This exercise, basically wherever you’re at, it won’t raise you to a higher level of your slope, other things will, but it will stop the slope from going downward, which is why the sooner you begin this process, Eli says, the better for you. Here’s what it is. It’s very much like the Inner Mentor Process.

    You could actually even add the Inner Mentor Process if you like. Here’s what it is, 21 minutes. The first thing that each of you do together is to think about a recent argument. It’s an argument that kind of captures a stuck point in your relationship. It’s a kind of argument or stuck place that happens again and again. You are going to write down the experience of a recent argument where this happened to you. Maybe it’s nagging, maybe it’s around sex, maybe it’s not feeling listened to, maybe it’s differences in how you relate to money, or the children, or politics.

    First, just write down what that is, then you’re going to write three different things. Each of them is going to take seven minutes long. You’re going to think of this conflict and you’re going to imagine a neutral third-party that wants the best for everybody, wants the best for both of you and for the two of you as a couple, and for each of you individually. A neutral third-party that wants that. You may even tweak that a little bit I think, and make it like a very wise-being. The research shows doing this exercise with thinking of a neutral third-party who wants the best for everybody.

    You’re going to write about what this neutral third-party would tell the two of you to do to handle this. Again, a neutral wise third-party who wants the best for both of you. Write down seven minutes what this person would say to the two of you to help you both get through this. The second question you’ll answer for another seven minutes, each of you will do this, is what do you think are the obstacles that you’re going to confront when you try to adopt this new approach or perspective? You’re going to write about the obstacles that you think will happen for you as you try to make this change. Both of you do that, seven minutes.

    The third seven minutes is you write down what you can do individually and as a couple to surmount those obstacles. What Eli says is that the greatest determinant of a healthy relationship is how the couple handles conflict. That’s the greatest determinant of a good relationship. This gives both of you the space to think in really different ways, and to think in more conscious, more caring, and more compassionate ways.

    What Eli says is that the research shows that the two of you get to do this together. You might not want to do it on Valentine’s Day because it could be a little difficult, or you might want to do it on Valentine’s Day. You do this 21 minutes once a year. The research clearly shows there’s beautiful and dramatic results. These are four different hacks that I’m very excited to share with you. Each of them will open up a world and open up your world to becoming that person who you were born to be, who you’re meant to be, who can love more fully, richly and wisely. We know there is nothing better than that. The knowledge that you’re going to tackle this will change your Valentine’s Day for the richer and the better. All my best to all of you on this Valentine’s Day, and on your entire future journey in intimacy. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • How To Discover Your Core Gifts In Your Most Challenging Qualities [EP098]
    How to handle those parts of ourselves that get us in trouble again and again in our lives? Stay tuned to this episode where you’ll learn how to work with those parts of yourself and discover the gift that lies at their core.

    Table of Contents

    How To Discover Your Core Gifts In Your Most Challenging Qualities

    How to handle those parts of ourselves that get us in trouble again and again in our lives? Stay tuned to this episode where you’ll learn how to work with those parts of yourself and discover the gift that lies at their core.

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the book Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for people to meet online that is based on values of kindness, decency, and respect. Today in this episode, I’m going to talk about how you can discover your deepest core gifts right in the heart of your biggest personal challenges. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign on for my mailing list, or go to DeeperDating.com if you’re single and interested in looking for a relationship in a much healthier way. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, if you like what you’re hearing and learning here, I’d love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much and let’s jump in.

    Gifts Deep In Our Core

    In this very early part of our new year, I want to share a counterintuitive approach to change that I find tremendously exciting. Here’s the central idea – It’s that our deepest wounds, and bewilderments, and complications spring from our deepest gifts. Gifts that we have not learned how to handle and bare their power and their sensitivity as fully as we need to. By acknowledging these gifts, taking time to name them, and learning to treasure them and honor them, we can speed and deepen our own healing, and definitely our search for love.

    Our deepest wounds, bewilderments, and complications spring from our deepest gifts.CLICK TO TWEETIn these podcast episodes, in my book Deeper Dating, and in my course, I talk about the concept of Core Gifts. Those are the places of deepest sensitivity, tenderness, passion, and meaning within us. They’re the places where we have the greatest capacity to love and to create. They are also the places where most of us have been profoundly hurt. They are the places that we tend to either suppress our real self or act out our real self and get in trouble. These are our trigger spots because they are a place of deepest sensitivity. They are the places where the nerve endings of our being are the richest and most full. They are incredibly important.

    DDP 98 | Core Gifts
    Core Gifts: Our relationship to our core gifts determines what our life looks like, what our relationships look like, and what we can create in the world.

     

    I really believe that more than almost anything else, it’s our relationship to these Core Gifts that determines what our life looks like, and what our relationships look like, and what we can create in the world in all of those arenas. In my six-month intensives, we spend almost half of the intensive focusing on being able to name our Core Gifts, discover our Core Gifts, and celebrate and dignify them. I think it’s an incredibly rich subject because these Core Gifts speak to the very DNA of your being.

    When we are in the right relationship with our essential self, we do so much better in choosing partners and in maintaining relationships and growing. Our Core Gifts are strands of potential greatness within us. When we express them, we feel most alive and empowered, or most frighteningly vulnerable and raw. Core Gifts are not the same as strengths and they’re not the same as talents. In fact, a lot of time they feel like our greatest weaknesses because there’s such vulnerability around them. Because their power can be so great, that it takes a lifetime of work to learn how to handle these gifts to help them grow up, mature in the world, get legs, act and fulfill their mission, and learn the skills that are needed. Like with any greatness or any genius, there’s a great deal of skill-building that needs to happen.

    This is a question that I have asked before. I’d like you to think about this for a minute. Which of your own sensitivities and passions have more often felt like a curse than a gift to you? That is a sign of a Core Gift, or another question, “What tender parts of you have often been really misunderstood in the world or taken advantage of?” Those are other signs. What positive experiences in your life touch the heart of what matters most to you? It’s another sign. Because in pain or in joy, the great marker of a Core Gift is the depth of meaning that lies there. It’s the sense of our humanity.

    The closer we feel to the beating heart of our own or another’s humanity and meaning, the closer we are to our own deepest gifts. As a psychotherapist or as a coach, when I try to understand my client’s deepest conundrums, struggles, and challenges, I lean into it in this way. What is the Core Gift that’s trying to express itself in the heart of this struggle? Often, the answer just can’t be reduced to a word or a phrase or anything like that. It’s often just a deep feeling. Often, we need the insight of other people to help us decipher our own gifts, and that is really true.

    How do we handle the parts of ourselves that get us in trouble again and again in our lives? In this episode, you’ll learn a much more powerful way to work with them, and you’ll also discover the gift that lies at their core.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s almost impossible to understand the beauty, the power, the value, the preciousness of our gifts if people don’t reflect back to us what they are, and how to see them. This is an amazing starvation that occurs in this world, is that people don’t tell each other the gifts that they see in each other in a direct, clear way, using their wisdom and their insight to do that. When I do workshops and when I do classes and I do courses, that’s always a part of it. Because I think we need to be instructed into the value of our gifts and the quality of our gifts. We often need to be instructed. We’re not going to figure it out ourselves. We won’t understand it fully. We won’t have that moment of realization of how we’ve impacted people’s lives.

    That honoring of the gifts is so much at the heart of this, and I’ll get to that in a couple of minutes. I want to say that learning to bear the passion, the vulnerability, the sensitivity, the originality, and coming from all different directions in ways that we can’t really easily understand. These parts of ourselves, these core gifts, it’s a task of a lifetime to be able to make space for them, to honor them, to see their treasure, and to learn their language. I’m going to share a personal example of that. The experience of guilt has been a lifelong burden for me, a core wound for me. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still am prone to guilt. It’s a weight that I carry to one degree or another, frequently. It used to be constantly. Now, it’s frequently.

    I feel responsible in some ways for way too much, way too often. Knowing what I know, I approach that guilt wound on my good days in a new way. I look for the Core Gift in it. I’ve been reminded to do this by people who know me and love me, and see the gift there because I’d get lost in that guilt myself, and I do. The minute I do that, the minute I look for the Core Gift, things become clear, and it’s empathy. It’s a deep empathy, care, and concern, which doesn’t mean that I can’t be selfish and lots of other things.

    It means that that empathy is a deep quality in my being, that I experienced a lot of pain around when I feel like I haven’t done something right, or even a deeper, more generic kind of pain. That’s the gift that led me to become a therapist. It’s the gift that fuels a fierce protectiveness I have for the people I love, for my children, for my partner, for my family, for the children that were separated and put in cages at the border.

    It’s a gift that somehow in a strange way, also leaves me feeling responsible, like feeling responsible for my parent’s suffering at the hands of Hitler or my son’s ancestors’ horrors in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. This guilt is not perfectly healthy for sure, but it’s part of my genius. It’s roots spring from the depths of what makes me who I am, my fierce protectiveness, my compassion, my caring. I’m not saying that I’m this perfect embodiment of that or anywhere near it, because I have a lot of other parts too. That part of me is very real. That guilt that weighs me down has its roots in my very ability to love.

    Unleashing The Undomesticated Genius

    How does that awareness lead to healing for me, for us? How could we use this knowledge to heal our wounds and liberate the gifts trapped inside them? The first thing is to understand the gifts that lie there, that come out in convulsive, and immature, and imperfect ways, but something is coming out. Something is trying to be spoken, known and seen, and understood. We have to find what that is. You might want to take a minute right now and think about a quality in your being, in your personality that has this intensity that maybe you’ve wondered, is it too intense? Is it too sensitive? Is it too tender? Is it too demanding?

    I would say that the task is to find the Core Gift that lies there. Maybe it’s a quality of not enough, like, “I’m too quiet, I’m too tender, I’m too passive.” In those cases as well, there is a gift that lies there. For example, qualities of passion have this “something really matters to you”, and we want to find what that is, what that thing is that mattered to you in that situation so much again and again. Maybe it’s truth. Maybe it’s a connection. Those are some of the things that we can get really passionate about.

    DDP 98 | Core Gifts
    Core Gifts: It’s a task of a lifetime to be able to make space for our core gifts, to honor them, to see their treasure, and to learn their language.

     

    Maybe it’s needing space. Maybe it’s needing freedom, but if these things come up again and again, there is a Core Gift. There is a germ, a seed of something that is aching to be expressed and probably has not been fully honored. What does it work for all those reasons is simple willpower. Telling ourselves that we have to stop, that we have to become more mature. For me, that I have to get more adult and realistic about where my responsibility ends.

    As seductive as that simple approach seems, use your willpower, use your smarts, use your logic. I have found that it has very little leverage. It’s one of the weakest tools that there is. This is what I’ve come to see as the step that is the most important. This quality of yours that you thought of, what if each of us in these arenas sees the humanity at the heart of the wound? What it was we were aching for? What it was that hurt us? What it was that we needed?

    It’s hard to do that when we’re upset at ourselves. It’s hard to do it when we’re upset at someone else who didn’t treat us right. The act of saying, “This makes emotional sense. This is what I was trying to do. Not well, imperfectly, but this is what I was trying to do.” A dignifying of that Core Gift, to me, is what I think the first step, the most important step. For example for me, the care that fuels my guilt is what’s best about me. Even though my guilt creates like whole slews of problems, it’s still the size of my caring that gets me in trouble.

    As much as I might want to manage to reduce that caring to a simpler, easier, more handleable level, that will never work. I can’t amputate my soul. Our Core Gifts spring from a source more profound and more essential than anything that we can control. If we shift, if you think about what is the core gift in that pain, in that sensitivity, in that passion that you experience again and again, whatever it is that you’re picking up. Maybe you could think of it as like, “This is the thing that gets me in trouble in my relationships.” I, fill in the blank. The task here is to feel the humanity behind what that is and to name it, and to see the gift in it.

    Until we cherish the gift at the heart of our flaws, we’re going to live in knots and miss out on the magic that makes us who we are.CLICK TO TWEETWhen we do that, when we say it makes sense, maybe it doesn’t make the perfect logical sense, but it makes sense in terms of who I am and what matters to me, and my wounds, and all the different parts of me. It makes sense that this made me feel that way. When we can do that, we dignify those feelings. We’re much more likely to avoid the two great dangers at a moment like that. One is suppression of what our needs are because we feel ashamed, or our feelings are because we feel ashamed. The other is acting out, expressing those things in a way that is unkind or doesn’t have empathy, or doesn’t take the other person into account, or forgets how much this person loves us and cares about us, and all that they’ve done for us. Those are two ways that we can get stuck. When we begin by saying, “Yeah, this is a treasure,” all of a sudden, we are holding it like the parents that we wish we had.

    When we begin by feeling the mystery and the humanity in our gifts, something different happens. When we name the gift and we honor it, and find the inner logic, worth, sense, and truth of it, something else happens. We become more human, more balanced, and more chill. Finally, whole new doorways of possibilities begin to unfold. I want to say here too, as much as I might want to embrace my gifts of empathy, for example, as much as we might want to fully embrace our gifts, often we can’t because our Core Gifts, there could be so much pain there, so much longing, even so much joy and so much meaning. There’s a fierceness. There’s a depth. They touch the very marrow of our being.

    That’s where they come from, the very core of our being. It stands to reason that their humanity would be hard to bear. I think of those qualities not as attributes but as portals. I think of them as portals to something so vast, something so mysterious, in my opinion, something so holy because I wouldn’t care that much if it wasn’t. This way of looking at the world, this way of looking at conflict and argument and confusion is so much kinder. It allows space. It gives us that kind of core where we can move around and be more agile in handling the complexities and pains that come up, when we hold it with that kind of kindness.

    How do we do this though? If these feelings are so hard to bear, I think that what we need to do is gradually over years, practice exposing ourselves to our Core Gift in small doses with a sense of treasure and dignity. Gradually increase our tolerance for their beauty, their bigness, their tenderness, and all the challenges that they give us. How do you live in the world with this much empathy? How do you live in the world with this much caring? How do you live in the world with this much fierce sense of justice?

    Whatever for you these qualities are, I think that the key is to acknowledge that there’s a treasure in you, that is a mystery that you will be unfolding and unfurling and discovering for your whole life, but that it is the fuel of the life that you want, and the richness that you want. Our deepest gifts can definitely grow. They can mature and they need to mature. When we do this, we can finally parent them. It’s like parenting a fiercely gifted child, but those gifts can never be domesticated. They will never fit into the small and safe and well-mannered boxes that we think we’re supposed to create for them.

    DDP 98 | Core Gifts
    Core Gifts: There’s a treasure within you that’s a mystery that you’ll be unfolding your whole life, but that is the fuel of the life that you want.

     

    They’re going to continue to get us in trouble. They’re going to cajole us to the edge of authenticity. They’re going to cause tears that we don’t understand. They’re going to shock us with their truths because genius domesticated is genius lost. Genius has fire and challenge, and that’s a gift. We spend so much time trying to get these Core Gifts to listen to us, to behave correctly, and to line up in a nice row, to do what we tell them. Guess who loses that battle again and again? Until we cherish the gift at the heart of our flaws, we’re going to live in knots.

    More importantly, we’re going to miss out on the magic that makes us who we are and which allows the precious people who are made for us to finally discover where we are. This new year, my wish is that all of you, and that I, get to feel more deeply and treasure more kindly and fully the deep gifts living at the heart of our struggles. That we allow ourselves an answerless awe at their mystery, their beauty, and their humanity. Thank you so much for joining me in this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode

  • A Life-Changing Exercise for Everyone Who Has Lost A Loved One [EP097]
    I’m very excited to share a powerful and transformational process for anyone who has lost a loved one, and to share some very personal stories about my own experiences with this exercise in my own life. This process is truly life-changing!

    Table of Contents

    A Life-Changing Exercise for Everyone Who Has Lost A Loved One

    Wisdom from Dr. Jamie Turndorf’s book, Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased

    In this episode, I’m excited to bring you a life-changing exercise for anyone who has lost a loved one, so stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a site to help single people meet online in a way that’s respectful, kind and inspiring. Today, I’m going to be talking about a powerful process, a life-changing exercise for anyone who has lost a loved one. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. You’ll also find a complete transcript of every episode. I also want to say that everything I’m going to be sharing is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions or symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would so appreciate it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you and let’s jump in.

    Many of us have lost people we love. Many of us are still suffering from those losses, and maybe even feel blocked in their ability to move on. Many of us might not feel blocked in our ability to move on, but might not have had the healing that we could potentially have with someone even after they pass. I think the greatest secret to a love-filled life is cherishing the relationships that we have already. That includes relationships with people who have passed. Today, I want to share a simple but profoundly healing exercise for anyone who’s lost a loved one.

    Until wounds are healed, we will continue to be limited in terms of our capacity to find a new relationship.CLICK TO TWEETI’ve often heard people say that they can feel the presence of loved ones who have died. I have to admit that usually, I have felt a pang of envy when I heard those words. This has happened to me. I have experienced it, but I haven’t usually experienced it when I’ve lost people I love and treasure. For me, when I’ve lost a loved one, not in all cases but in most cases, it’s like the door just shuts. It doesn’t shut on my grief, but it shuts on my sense of access to that relationship. After reading Love Never Dies: How to Reconnect and Make Peace with the Deceased by Dr. Jamie Turndorf, I find that that is beginning to change. Although unlike Dr. Turndorf, I’m still somewhat of an agnostic on the subject of, is it actual communication with people who have passed? This episode is for people who believe there is actual communication and those who aren’t sure, and those who just don’t believe it. These exercises apply to everyone.

    Life-Changing Exercise
    Life-Changing Exercise: Old wounds can be healed, and we can feel the warmth of past love in our bodies and our hearts.

    Our cultural training around death can close down a wealth of available love and inner guidance that comes from a sense of connection to people we’ve lost, whether or not we believe that their spirit is still alive. Almost none of us have been taught about the power of creating an inner dialogue with people we’ve lost. In the spirituality of many Eastern religions, and also in that of many indigenous cultures, there are really strong beliefs that an ongoing connection with our ancestors links us to the very core of our life’s meaning, but few of us are taught how to create that connection.

    Dr. Turndorf says, “When we don’t reconnect and work out unfinished business with those who have passed, we limp through life dragging our unhealed wounds.” I just want to say that so many of us have had broken hearts in love, and it’s not as though the person has passed away, but as though there’s been such a profound loss that we are left sometimes feeling like we’re limping through life. Until those wounds are healed, it limits us in terms of our capacity to find a new relationship. This exercise applies as well to situations where we’ve lost a loved one, not through death but through a breakup.

    I found in my own life that when loved ones die, somehow they’ve become elevated in my mind. That has held me back from cherishing my connection with them as fully as I would have liked to. I’m a 64-year-old gay man. I have survived through the AIDS crisis. I have lost a lot of people. I’m a 64-year-old man, so I’ve lost a number of people already right there too. When these loved ones were alive, I reached out to them as often as I wanted, but after they passed, I lost that inner freedom to converse with them in my own mind. It would be a thing if I wanted to reach out to them because I would be hit with this immense gulf of the loss of them, which I somehow didn’t believe I could crossover, traverse, communicate through or past.

    I began to feel awkward and also less deserving because of guilt. The ways that I have not been there for that person, the ways that I’ve let them down, the ways that I didn’t show up, and the ways that I wasn’t there enough. Those guilts became magnified when there was no chance to make them up anymore. Was I a good enough friend? Was I a good enough grandson? Was I a good enough mentee? Was I a good enough mentor? Those doubts led me to deny myself a sense of free access to their presence. Once the really sharp waves of grief had passed, I placed my loved ones on this precious but dusty shelf, just relegating our relationship to the past.

    In her book, Dr. Turndorf teaches a method for dialoguing with departed people. Also, this can be used for people that we have broken up with and have ended relationships with or they have with us, but it holds tremendous healing potential for everyone in those situations. Dr. Turndorf is really passionate in her certainty that we can communicate with people we’ve lost, and I hope that’s true, especially after the passing of my father, where amazing things happened. I’ll share a story. This is quite an amazing story. I felt my dad’s presence after he passed in a way that I hadn’t felt at all as much with most other relationships where I lost people. I got used to feeling this with my dad. I remember at one point, I said to my dad, “Could you give me a sign?”

    Folks, I swear this really happened. My husband has his office and I walked by his office to the bedroom and sticking out of his door on the floor was a photograph of my dad’s big hand and my child’s little baby hand in his. It was not there when I passed previously. I believed it more with him. I felt his presence in a different way, but that’s not something that I’ve always had. I just wanted to share that story. There is something that I found again and again, and that is my relationship with lost loved ones, when I take it off that precious and somewhat dusty shelf, can come to life again through this process that I’m going to teach you of dialoguing from Dr. Turndorf. Old wounds can be healed and really we can feel the warmth of past love in our bodies and our hearts. I know that many of you know that already.

    My dad, he was a Holocaust survivor. I’ve talked about him in a previous episode. I think I called that one, Losing Love and Finding It Again. My dad was a teenager when he and his mom were wrenched apart in a way that was unimaginable during the Holocaust, and he never saw her again. Somehow, he went on to create a life that was full of love, family and success, but that unspeakable pain remained inside of him. Half a century, after he was liberated from concentration camp, and I dragged him to a workshop. In that workshop, he was asked to have a conversation with a loved one who died and he chose his mom. He remembered her really vividly and he spoke to her. Maybe it was the first time that he ever spoke to her since he saw her that day. He realized, it really hit him without a doubt, exactly what she would say to him, and that moment was life-changing. This is what he imagined. He imagined his mom looking at him and looking at his life and he knew she would say, “Eric, look what a beautiful family you’ve created. Look what a good life you have now. I’m so proud of you.” He had never had the gift of knowing that that’s what she would say and of having that window onto his current life until he did that exercise.

    Forgiveness is not an obligation. It is not a requirement. It is an organic gift that comes with intention and desire over time.CLICK TO TWEETThat exercise brought him a profound healing. One that none of us could ever have imagined even being possible. We felt the change in him after that. It was like a giant knot had finally unknotted inside him. Since reading this beautiful book, Love Never Dies, which describes the dialogue process in great detail, I have used Dr. Turndorf’s technique and it has opened life-changing doors for me. It’s a powerful process and I encourage everyone who feels ready to give it a try. Dr. Turndorf generously agreed to share her instructions for this process, and I’m going to tell you her words, and maybe you could even do them now. You can absolutely pause as you do it. As long as you’re not operating heavy machinery or driving, you can even sort of do it as you walk, sit, reflect or whatever it is that you’re doing. The first step is to make an effort to be more still and quiet. I’m excited and happy to be leading you in this. The idea is to create pockets of peace – moments in which you sit in silence, so you turn off the TV, the radio, the cell phone, and your computer, even if only for ten minutes. You just sit in some silence.

    Dr. Turndorf says, “In Love Never Dies, I share a lot of exercises for connecting with loved ones. The most powerful is my dialoguing with the departed technique.” Again, you don’t have to believe in life after death, and it could even be done with people who are still alive, but there’s been a breakup or a silence. You first find your stillness as she described, and then you speak back and forth with whoever it is that you want to contact. You talk aloud and you make a first statement, and then you just be open to what comes back in. It might be a picture, a thought or a sensation. You might want to try that now, and then you can write down or record if you have that capacity with you. If not, don’t worry, but you could write down and record not only what you say, but definitely what you hear, speaking aloud both your part and also what you hear or imagine or sense coming back.

    You just keep dialoguing back and forth for as long as you wish. You can dialogue to get support and guidance or to just reconnect. This can also be like an inner mentor process that I teach, where you connect with your wisest self, because you can get such wisdom from this process. You could say goodbye to the person. If someone was ripped from you, you can say goodbye to their physical body. If it was a traumatic ending, you can share what that was like for you. You can say goodbye in whatever way you wish, but above all, you can dialogue to heal any unfinished business. Now, if a death is really raw, traumatic or evokes PTSD symptoms, you would want to do this in the presence of a therapist or a very skilled and trained clinical facilitator.

    Going back to the experience, the good news is you do not have to force forgiveness on yourself. I deeply believe in the concept that forgiveness is not an obligation. It is not a requirement. It is an organic gift that comes with intention and desire over time, honesty, and with the help of dialogue. Using this technique, just pick up where you’re stuck with this person and just keep talking back and forth until you begin to sense a kind of quality of resolution. As you repeat this technique, it can heal a lot of emotional negative issues or struggles that remain with you. After reading this book, I tried this dialogue with two loved ones. I did it with my dear friend, Michael, who died of AIDS in 1991, and I’ve talked about him a bunch.

    Life-Changing Exercise
    Life-Changing Exercise: Our cultural training around death can close down a wealth of available love and inner guidance that comes from a sense of connection to people we’ve lost.

     

    I also did it with my grandmother, who died at 99 years old, as me and my sister were coming back with my infant baby from Cambodia after I adopted him. In both cases, just the act of remembering how it felt to be with them brought this warm kind of living memory of their presence. Was it their actual presence? Was it real? It felt real to me, but the question didn’t concern me because the love that we shared was unequivocally real and that’s what I felt. It felt almost as alive as it ever had. In that conjured sense of memory, I felt their loving concern for me.

    I got a dose of their familiar guidance and presence. Their presence moved me, just like it did so many times during my life and their life. I was struck by the fact that I denied myself this poignant gift for so long because I felt like I didn’t deserve it, because I felt like it wasn’t real, because I felt like it was not what one does. Ridiculous kind of things really, because there was a world of rich relationships that were hard-won, that were crafted over decades, and were still available to me. If nothing else, in their living presence inside me, in the ways that they had imprinted me and still lived inside of me. Their kind but sharp wisdom could be resurrected in present time just by remembering them and having a dialogue.

    In Memory Of John Neill

    Just to share one more story, I was privileged to spend some of the last days of his life with my dear friend and mentor, John McNeill. John was a priest who wrote a book called Taking a Chance on God and The Church and the Homosexualwho was kicked out of the Jesuit order by Benedict, who was then I believe Cardinal and became Pope later, for being gay. He was an LGBT activist and he changed my life, and the lives of countless other people. Another time, I’ll talk about what he meant to me. I had to leave John the day before he died. I’m just going to share one more story. John loved vichyssoise. It was a soup that he really loved. On the last day before that, as he was really moving toward passing, he just looked up and he said, “vichyssoise.” I made this my mission and I took a taxi 20 miles or something to this one place that was open that had vichyssoise in Fort Lauderdale.

    I got it for him and brought it back. My dear friend, the activist Brendan Fay and I, late at night, fed that to John on a little sponge, but then we got rid of the sponge because who wants to eat good food off a sponge? We used a tiny spoon. He loved it and he smiled. That was the story of how I got to give a very precious last wish to someone who had helped me and healed me in so many ways. Anyway, that next day, I had to leave. It was the day before John passed and the room was filled with his loved ones, but I gave myself the gift of asking for some moments alone with him. That’s something I learned from the passing of another friend where I didn’t give myself that gift.

    I bent down toward his ear and I just whispered a stream of pure gratitude to him. I told him how he changed my life, how he brought me back to the me that I had given up in my childhood. I told him how he helped me overcome old childhood shame, not just of being gay, but even a deeper shame at being me. I thanked him for growing me back to the parts of myself that I had given up so many years ago, parts that allowed me the gift of my current personal life and my professional life. He gave that to me. He gave it back to me because of what he saw in me. I felt a resolve never to put our relationship on that old dusty shelf. I just drank him in. I looked into his sweet face and I just filled myself with him. I knew that I would be coming back to visit him. That was a gift that I no longer had to deny myself. I hope that this exercise sounds helpful to you. I hope you try it and use it. I think you’ll find incredible riches from it. I also encourage you if this interests you, to look for Dr. Turndorf’s book, Love Never Dies. Thank you all for listening to this, a very kind of different episode. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Change The Script Of Your Love Life [EP096]
    How do you truly change the script of your love life so the same painful patterns don’t keep happening again and again – and newer, wiser patterns can take their place? In this episode, you’ll learn some powerful and life-transforming tools to change the course of your future in love.

    Table of Contents

    How To Change The Script Of Your Love Life

    Your Myth Of Lost Love: Part 2

    How do you truly change the script of your dating life so the same kind of patterns in situations don’t keep happening again and again? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn how.

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the co-founder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for people to meet online that is respectful, warm, and inspiring. In every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get some free gifts and learn about how to use these ideas to transform your search for intimacy, and you’ll find complete transcripts of every episode as well. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, I want to say that if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe, leave a review on iTunes, and that would be much appreciated. Now, let’s jump in.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: Some people get in trouble repeatedly because of being naïve, as they don’t necessarily see the reality of how others behave.

     

    Last Episode Recap

    Let me begin by recapping what we talked about in the last episode because this is a two-part series. In the last episode, I talked about our scripts that we carry with us in our search for love. They’re deep and profound and that we act out again and again. One of these, I call the myth of lost love, which is the story that we tell ourselves about why we haven’t been loved right, what it says about the world, and what we need to do about it? These scripts are deep and profound things. They truly shape our behavior in amazing ways, and we can change these scripts by bringing wisdom into our search for love. I want to just start by recapping what the myth of lost love is, what we talked about in the last episode. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about how we can deconstruct that myth, and how we can rewire and build a story that makes more sense, that holds us in a better way, that allows us to make better and wiser choices, that allows more freedom and more intimacy.

    Let me start by just explaining this concept of the myth of lost love. In the ways that we were not seen and the ways that we were not loved right, and we’re human beings in a world filled with pain, suffering, and defense, and so none of us were loved perfectly right. Also, all of us have qualities that are both genius qualities but also deeply challenging to us and to the world. They’re the source of our greatness, but they are also the source of so much struggle and dilemma, because we have to grow into the power, the size, the gentleness, the intensity of these gifts, and whatever they are. Of course, our parents and our caregivers have also been wounded, and have not been able to see us and meet us properly in important ways, no matter how much they loved us.

    Admitting how you push love away is an act of greatness.CLICK TO TWEETOf course, the world has hurt us in our dating lives and our romantic lives. I think almost all of us have been hurt and often profoundly hurt, so we create this myth of lost love that originates in our childhood that grows and develops in our life and our dating life. It has three parts to it. The first part is it gives us an explanation of what the world is, like the world is a place where I can’t trust, or the world is a place where I am generous again and again, and keep being taken advantage of. The world is a place where this particular quality of mine has never really been seen or cherished and hence, has never felt safe. These are deep down stories that we tell ourselves about what the world is, and really how the world is going to treat us, and particularly, how the world is going to treat us if we show our deepest authentic self.

    That’s the first part of the myth. I’m doing this briefly because it’s what we talked about in the last episode. The second part of the myth is, what’s wrong with us? When a child is not treated right, they always think, “What’s wrong with me? How did I do this? How did I create this?” Often, we’re told directly or in subtler ways that it is our fault. We learn these deep down messages that way down in our psyche we translate into, “This is what’s wrong with me that I am not loved, seen, honored, or respected, etc.” The third part of the myth is, what do we need to do to protect ourselves so that we are not hurt this way again? So that we can avoid that pain and still find love. Often, these are kind of Byzantine complicated patterns that we create, that end up being self-sabotaging, and they get played out again and again. These are our myths of lost love.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: The qualities that are the reason why people don’t love you are almost always connected to your core gifts.

     

    Based on these myths, we act out stories again and again. These myths, to some huge degree, determine who we’re crazy attracted to, who we’re not interested in, because a part of our being is seeking resolution to the pain of that myth, but does it based on the stories that come out of that myth, so a repetition happens again and again. How do we change this script that is so deeply embedded, so habitual, so reasonable to our inner child, the way that we’ve protected ourselves? It’s so embedded. How do we change that script? That’s kind of what I have devoted so much of my life work to figuring out how to do, and that includes my own personal work and journey. I’m excited to share some ideas on that, but the first thing that I want to say is something that I say all the time. That is that the research shows that if you’re trying to change a deeply embedded habit, two things that you need are some kind of template for a different way of being that feels to you like it has wisdom and solidity, and that you can really believe in.

    The second thing is a community of support, even if it’s just one person. Some kind of community of support where you can fail, think, rewire, pick yourself up, try something new, and unwire, dewire, and rewire again and again in the presence of a compassionate, somewhat objective, more spacious person who can help us not ram ourselves back into the same way of trying that we habitually do again and again. Don’t try to do that alone. In all of my classes, in all of my courses, and in my book too, I have people find a learning partner. Even on DeeperDating.com, when you fill out a profile, you can check whether or not you want a learning partner, and then you can search for people who are looking for learning partners. Please do this, give this gift to yourself in changing your script, not thinking that you can do it alone, no matter how smart you are, and no matter how self-disciplined you are, because this is a deeper process. It’s another dimension than just your smarts or your willpower.

    People who need to protect their soul, heart, peace, and safety don’t use fighting as a solution.CLICK TO TWEET

    Deconstruction And Rewiring

    That said, I want to talk about the deconstruction and the rewiring around the three parts of this myth that we talked about. The first one that we talked about was understanding of what the world is and how the world will treat you when you’re authentic, when you’re vulnerable, when you need, when you’re extra fierce, when you’re extra tender, whatever those most important parts of you are. Out of our picture of what the world is and how we will be treated, we develop attachment styles. Some of the attachment styles that we develop, some of the ways that we develop are as follows. Tell me if any of them or you can tell me if you do the Ask Ken thing, but otherwise, think for yourself about which of these feel like they’re true for you.

    Here’s a really interesting one that I’m going to start with. I guess this is what it’s like. It’s like you’re in a burning building and you can only take out one thing. In a difficult life, we choose the things that we most need for survival. If what we most need is a sense of freedom, we have to often cut the cords to dependence. If what we most need is interconnectedness, we have to cut the cords to being radically authentic and we’ll have to people please. Each of us makes hard choices of what we’re going to take out of the burning building, and it’s the thing we need the most. One thing that I’ve noticed in my work is that people who have a deep connection to goodness need the world to be a good place, need to see goodness in the world. One way that they survive is a kind of enforced naivete, where they won’t see the reality of how selfish people can be, of how unkind people can be, not everyone but some people, how ethicless some people can be, and how abusive.

    DDP 96 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: If you don’t know how to embrace your core gifts, you will be sexually and romantically attracted to people who will step on them.

     

    To protect the sense of the world’s goodness, some people need to hold a naivete, which gets them in trouble again and again because they don’t necessarily see the reality of how people can behave. Some of us who have been told that we don’t have a right to have a voice, who have been hurt in the place of our dignity, autonomy, sovereignty, or many other things like that, hold a quality of defensiveness. Those of us that believe that the world is going to cut us down, that the world is going to hurt us, that the world is going to squash us, that if we are weak, if we are not strong, if we don’t fight back regularly and even preemptively, we’re going to be wounded and hurt. Those of us who have that have a quality of defensiveness or anger that we then use to protect ourselves against a world that’s hostile.

    Some of us who need to protect our soul, our heart, our peace, our safety don’t use fighting as a solution. We use retreat. We pull back and we become avoidant. Some of us who deeply believe that we might be betrayed, but deeply need connection, those of us who need connection in very deep ways, we all do, but some people are wired so that’s the thing they have to take out of the building, the one thing they need the most, and have this belief that we will be abandoned or not seen or dropped. We have a more insecure attachment style. These are just some examples and there are so many more, but they’re examples of, first of all, what’s the thing that we tell ourselves? You could think about this for a moment now. What are the myths that you’ve told yourself about how the world is an unsafe place, and just to reiterate that these myths are in a way seen from a child’s mind, but they have real reality not only in your experience but about what the world actually can be like?

    Those with a deep connection to goodness can often tend to become naïve.CLICK TO TWEET

    Core Gifts

    Now, I want to talk about the second part. The second part is what we tell ourselves is wrong with us, that we have created this pain or this problem, or that we have invited it or allowed it. That is the human tendency, is to blame ourselves. This is a really rich one and connects to our core gifts. There’s a lot of complexity, a lot of richness here that I talk about in greater depth in my book, and in many podcast episodes where I speak about core gifts. I’m just going to say briefly that the amazing thing here, the incredible thing here is that the qualities that we decide are the reason that people don’t love us, are almost always connected to our deepest gifts, which I call our core gifts. Those are the parts of us that have a quality of depth, intensity, sensitivity, or differentness that people don’t normally easily know how to handle, including us.

    They’re the deepest richest parts of us. They are our greatest beauty, and the more we align with those parts and honor them, and kind of live like artists in the presence of those qualities, like a deep sensitivity, a truth-telling, a hunger for accomplishment, achievement or creativity, a passion, an intensity, a tenderness, a humility, a generosity that runs so deep that it’s gotten us in trouble. These are the holy parts of us. These are the powerful parts of us, and the simple, strange question of, what have we told ourselves is wrong with us? Whatever those qualities are, are almost definitely intimately connected with our greatest gifts.

    If we don’t know how to embrace those qualities, we will be sexually and romantically attracted to people who step on them, deny them, ignore them, or don’t at all understand or appreciate them. The deep journey here and the gift of finding out our answer to that question, and you could take a moment now and pause and think about this. What do you tell yourself are the flaws in you that people just can’t love or betray you or let you down because of, or are too much, or maybe are not strong enough? Those are often the two things. We think we’re too much or we think we’re not enough. Around each of those points, there is a depth of being that’s so big, that maybe the world hasn’t known how to handle it, and we haven’t known how to handle it. Those are our core gifts.

    The journey here is to name those gifts. To come to understand them like we would understand a child that we have, who is brilliant and gifted, and also struggling with the weight of those gifts. There’s a lot of compassion that we need to hold. Also, a lot of treasuring and renaming again and again of the worth of these gifts. When we do this, we form into a self that can really live in an extraordinary way in the world. Over time, we find as we do this, as we name these gifts, is that when we’re dating, when we’re in relationships, we will notice when those gifts are not being seen. We’ll notice when those gifts are being stepped on or taken advantage of or abused, and we’ll say, “This feels horrible, no.”

    Instead of doing our old methods of convincing ourselves that we have to change, or convincing ourselves that the world is just this way, and this is all we can expect, we will instead begin to say, “This is not a place where I can feel really at home. I need to do something about that.” When we do that, our search for love changes, and our life changes. That is why this is really a kind of almost holy journey because it’s a journey to come back to those most deeply authentic, passionate, tender and sacred parts of ourselves that really as we do, our mission in life becomes clearer, and our capacity to love in a wiser way and choose in a wiser way also develops. That’s the second piece of how we blame ourselves, which can lead us to seeing what our deepest gifts are.

    The third one is then, what are the defense mechanisms that we create? What are the structures? What are the flight patterns from intimacy? What are the things that we do to look for love based on that myth? How do we behave when we believe this is what the world is? How do we behave when we feel shame around some of our deepest core gifts? What are the things that we do? What is the choreography of our behavior around those wounds? This is an incredibly rich and complex question, but I think I could just ask this in a way that you could think about briefly and just see what pops up.

    What are your ways of unconsciously, or maybe even consciously, pushing love away? What are the patterns that are yours by which you push love away even though you’re looking for it? You can take a minute, you can pause and think about it, but I want to say, I think it behooves all of us to become a student of our fear of intimacy and to really know the ways that we do this because we all do. I think that that is an act of greatness. It is to be able to swallow and admit, “These are the ways I push love away. This is the choreography of how I protect myself in ways that maybe aren’t the wisest, but they are the best I have had, and this is what I could consider doing differently.” I think that’s an act of greatness and humility. I think that the bang for your buck that you get in your intimacy journey when you tackle these things is absolutely huge.

    Each one of these things that we’ve talked about, your search for love and your intimacy life, will change profoundly as you embrace these pieces. You can see why this path is really a path to your own greatness, a path to the deepest parts of you, and God knows love is one of the deepest parts of all of us. Thank you so much for listening. I encourage you to think about all of these things and explore them further. I wish you blessings in your deep, profound, precious, and important learning journey around your search for love. I look forward to speaking with you in the next episode.

  • How To Discover Your Personal “Myth Of Lost Love” [EP095]
    Your Myth of Lost Love is the story you created to help you make sense of love. Your myth profoundly impacts the people you choose, the ways you behave in loving relationships, and ultimately, your entire intimacy journey. In this episode, you’ll discover your own personal Myth of Lost Love–and the deep Core Gifts at the heart of this myth.

    Table of Contents

    How To Discover Your Personal “Myth Of Lost Love”

    Understanding Your Core Beliefs About Romantic Love

    In this episode of the Deeper Dating, you will discover your myth of lost love, the story that you crafted to help you understand your relationship to love and to the world. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a site where single people can meet based on the principles of dignity, respect, kindness and inspiration. Today, I’m going to talk about the myth of lost love, which are the inner stories that we tell ourselves, that shape the entire way we approach our romantic lives. You’ll learn about what your myth of lost love is. Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the skills of life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts. You’ll also have access there to all of the transcripts of all of my episodes. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. Finally, if you like what you’re hearing and learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and even review this podcast. That’s a tremendous thing. The reviews that people have given have just been so beautiful and I’m really appreciative. Let’s jump in.

    Myth Of Lost Love

    Today, I’m going to be talking about what I call the myth of lost love, which is the deep story that we tell ourselves about who we are, who the world is, and how we need to behave in order to protect ourselves, and be loved. I call it a myth because it has an ancient depth. It touches our heartstrings in a very deep way. There are universal themes, but it’s also very personal. Like a myth, it shapes the way we approach our lives, and in this case, our romantic lives and our entire intimacy life. What we’re going to do in this episode is I’m going to talk about the different components of the myth of lost love. I’m going to ask you some questions as we go, and you can just quickly think of what your response is. By the end of this episode, you will have a much richer understanding of your myth of lost love and how it shapes your romantic life, and also where it came from.

    There’s a lot of rich stuff here. You’re also going to be learning how your myth of lost love points to you, what your deepest core gifts are that you have not yet been able to embrace. It’s exciting and profound stuff. This is going to be a two-part episode. In the second episode, we’ll be talking about how we can change the story of our myth of lost love. To have it finally become a story that works and heals us, and adds to the love in our life instead of ultimately subtracting from it, and that includes self-love. In this episode, we’re going to talk about what the myth of lost love is. You’re going to identify yours, and in that, you will get glimpses of your deepest core gifts, which lie at the heart of your entire intimacy journey.

    The act of suppressing hidden parts of us is an act of quiet violence against our deepest being.CLICK TO TWEET

    The Story We Tell Ourselves As Children

    Each one of us has created this myth of lost love, which is a life-defining story that we use to explain why we were not loved the way we needed to be when we were children, why we were not loved the way we needed to be by our romantic partners, and what we can do to repair that pain or protect ourselves from experiencing it again. This myth comes alive whenever we’re in a relationship that really matters to us, and it can stir us down to our very core. I’m going to share a story, and that story is going to illustrate some of the different points of the myth of lost love.

    Why We Deserve Punishment

    The first dynamic in the myth of lost love that we create is the story we tell ourselves as children, about the ways in which the world is an unsafe and unloving place.

    Debbie’s story. Debbie’s dad divorced her mother when Debbie was about seven years old. She was a single parent with four older boys, and one very sensitive little girl to raise. Her mom just didn’t have the time or the energy for her. She seemed angry a lot of the time. Debbie’s many attempts to show love to her mother were sometimes returned, but often they were rebuffed or ignored completely. Debbie really only remembered a few times when her mother showed her real affection. Sometimes, her mom would actually humiliate her when Debbie showed her need, her longing for connection, her soft side. As a result, Debbie ended up experiencing the world as a place that had an essential coldness, and where the warmth of real love was mostly unattainable. She developed a myth of lost love to explain why her mother’s love was being denied to her. She came to the conclusion that the world was a cold place that rewarded need and vulnerability with humiliation, and rewarded the lack of need and the lack of vulnerability with success.

    That’s the first part of how we come to see and understand the world based on our experiences. You might want to take a minute to think about that. We’re going to get to this one more deeply in a moment, but what are the parts of you that you felt were not treasured or honored at home, in your deep love relationships, or in the world in general? What did that teach you or tell you? What did you decide about the world because of that? Some people decide that the world is a cold place and shut down in particular ways, and protect themselves because they hold onto a sense of reality. Other people, for very different reasons, can experience abuse, neglect and those same things. What they need to hold on to is a sense of goodness of the world.

    Even if it’s a losery, those people approach the world with a kind of naiveté. Not believing that someone would hurt them even if their gut instincts are this person isn’t safe. These are just some of the ways that we create a myth. That second myth is a myth of, “If I’m good enough, if I’m kind enough, if I’m loving enough, this other person will be different.” My mom is a Holocaust survivor. She had that. Her thing when she was eight years old was, “If the Nazis could see my goodness, they would never hurt me.” There is cruelty, unkindness, and vast amounts of pain and suffering in the world. Each of us develops a story.

    DDP
    Myth Of Lost Love: The myth of lost love is the deep story that we tell ourselves about who we are, who the world is, and how we need to behave in order to protect ourselves and be loved.

     

    Second, the myth of lost love explains why we deserve this punishment. On one hand, we believe something about the world. On the other hand, deep down, we believe something about us. That’s what kids do. They make it all about themselves. That’s what children do. As a kid, Debbie had no way to know that her mom was the one with the big issue here. She loved her, and so she explained her mom’s coldness in a way that made sense to her, “It’s my fault. I’m unlovable.” What it came down to for Debbie was, “I need too much and people hate that.” She grew up feeling that somehow, she was the reason that she couldn’t find real love. Our myth of lost love continues this path of damage, our negative myth, by telling us exactly what makes us unworthy of love.

    We do that to ourselves in such crippling terms. We hone in on our most human traits. Our most vulnerable traits, our traits of need, our traits that were shamed or ignored, or our traits that are somehow immature, not refined, or not socially skilled. We blame ourselves and tell ourselves that those are the reasons why we lose love. It taught Debbie that vulnerability and emotional intensity were humiliating traits that made her unlovable, in a world that tended to step on those parts of her, and of ourselves.

    Here’s another really rich question. What are the parts of you that somewhere deep down inside, you believe if you really show them to a person, you’re deeply intimate with, they’re going to be turned off? They’re going to turn away from you. Somehow, they’re going to betray you. Somehow, they’re going to pull the rug out from under you. Somehow, they’re going to profoundly disappoint you, or you with these traits, you are so profoundly going to disappoint them, that they’re not going to be available to you. Now, this is a rich and amazing question for a lot of reasons, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but take a minute. You could even pause the recording if you want just to think about, what are those qualities that you tell yourself “This is the reason why people don’t end up being attracted to me romantically, sexually, or why the world doesn’t want to hear my message, or hear my creativity, or appreciate or relish my gifts.”? Take a minute just to think about that.

    I have lots to say about this. The big thing that I want to say is that these qualities, the ones you just listed, and I’m not talking about events in your life that you feel, “I’m ashamed of this. I’m embarrassed by this.” I’m not talking about events. I’m talking about parts of your being, parts of your nature. Some examples would be, a deep longing for love, a need to depend on people, and be able to really deeply lean on them. A passion for truth, an intense sensitivity, a deep quality of humility, a fiercely passionate kind of fiery attribute to your nature, a truth-telling. These are just some examples. Whatever it is for you, these are core gifts. Meaning they are parts of you that can never be amputated. Ultimately, if you try to airbrush them or people-please them away, you will pay because they’re parts of your soul. The act of suppressing those parts is an act of quiet violence against our deepest being.

    This is such an amazing thing, but the things we tell ourselves are the reasons why people can’t love us. This is the therapy journey that, as a therapist, I take people on, that, is a very extended process in many cases to have the depth of realization come alive about this. Those qualities that we’re most ashamed of are qualities that are connected to our deepest core gifts, and end up being our saviors in life and in love when we claim them and embrace them. When we don’t, we end up sexually and romantically attracted to people who also can’t treasure those parts of us.

    Treasure the hidden parts of ourselves, name them, identify them, and look for people who in essential ways, love those parts.CLICK TO TWEETNow, are those parts of us demanding? Yes. They’re like being a genius. Genius demands a lot of fuel. It demands a lot of understanding. It demands a lot of spaciousness, a lot of creativity, a lot of challenge, and a lot of work. These qualities demand that of us. They demand it of the people who love us, and the people who love us are often not willing to do that work, which is why our salvation comes from finding the people who treasure those very aspects of us. In a nutshell, I think that’s the greatest secret of self-love and romantic love.

    How To Protect And Defend Ourselves

    The third part of the myth of lost love is that it tells us how to protect and defend ourselves in an unsafe world. As a kid, Debbie had to learn how to be quiet in the face of her mom’s anger. She had to be the best little girl in the world. The anger that took root in Debbie as a child came into full bloom in Debbie as an adult. She still wanted to be the best girl in the world, but she vowed not to be humiliated again. Every time she felt vulnerable, even if she felt afraid of being unloved, in other words, she felt vulnerable and she didn’t express it. She was afraid that if she did, she would be hurt. She would mount a kind of preemptive strike. She would have a sudden kind of prickliness or over the top anger, and it would undermine and destroy each new budding relationship for her. Now, there’s a few pieces here. There is her need, her vulnerability, and her soft heart. There is the ferocity of her self-protection and pride.

    All of which are cherished, precious, and essential parts of us, and Debbie in this case. Here is the thing that is also so rich and powerful. It’s that because these core gifts are so demanding, and because they get us in trouble, we try to leave them behind so we could be normal and like everyone else, and be loved and be whatever it is that we think we need to be, which never works and bites us in the butt in an essential, profound, and ongoing way, but because we leave these parts of us behind, they don’t grow up. There’s a quality of immaturity that is often stuck with them. Part of the work of reclaiming these gifts is not just thinking, “I have these fabulous gifts, and anyone who doesn’t get them in whatever form they’re in, just doesn’t love me.”

    That’s kind of an exaggeration because we need to teach these gifts how to grow up in the world, how to have legs, how to express themselves with more courage, with more kindness, and with more integration. That comes with the first step, that is unequivocally to treasure these parts of ourselves, to name them, to identify them, and to look for people who in an essential way, love those parts of us, but then the work does become to help those parts of ourselves grow up, and become more mature, and be able to stand as entities, as part of our mission in the world.

    DDP 95 | Myth Of Lost Love
    Myth Of Lost Love: Genius demands a lot of fuel. It demands a lot of understanding, a lot of spaciousness, a lot of creativity, a lot of challenges, and a lot of work.

     

    Until we do that, our myth of lost love instructs us in how to protect and defend ourselves in an unsafe world. Even though we know that those parts of Debbie were core gifts, and that her efforts to suppress them were not going to work, she didn’t know that at the time that these were central parts of her being. She knew she hadn’t found the love that she wanted, and that the life she had dreamed of was passing her by. She didn’t know what to do about it. In therapy, she began to name those core gifts. She discovered that there was a really important similarity with almost all her past boyfriends. None of them were comfortable with her vulnerability or with their own vulnerability. In fact, they all made her feel ashamed of it. Now with that, she had a blueprint behind her, what I call attractions of deprivation.

    She saw that again and again, the people she was most wildly attracted to were the people in front of whom she felt like she needed to hide these parts of herself to get them to really love her and commit, but it never worked. She couldn’t hide them well enough so she felt like a failure, and they didn’t love her fully or fully enough. That same pattern happened again and again. She began to realize that the pain she had felt in past relationships was the pain of a gift that had never been loved into fullness. She had lost all this time trying to get people to accept parts of her that she didn’t acceptm and they were not the kind of people who could accept and treasure. At this point, her powerful will and her pride lined up behind a new goal. That that was the only kind of man that she would settle for. She began to date and surround herself with people who, in an essential way, valued her vulnerability, and were not terrified by her need. These were hallmarks and foundations of changing her life, and being able to find and nourish and keep love.

    Take a minute to think about what your ways are to protect yourself in this world. It might be avoidance of deeper intimacy. It might be choosing unavailable people. What are the ways that you have done this? In our next episode, we’re going to talk about how to change our myth of lost love, but with the information you have now, you can begin to think about the treasured parts of you that you felt like you had to neglect, ignore or airbrush in order to find love, which in fact are the keys to self-love and the creation of love in our lives. Thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP094]
    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts. We’ll explore what it means when your partner’s scent turns you off, how to handle a partner who asks you to go faster than you’re ready for…or who pulls away from you when things are just starting to speed up in a wonderful direction….and more!

    Table of Contents

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    What Do You Do When It’s Almost Working…But Almost Is Still Not Enough

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I’m going to answer your most pressing personal questions about love, sex and intimacy, in such a way that you can apply these insights to the particulars of your own love life, so you’re going to leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, some important revelations about your own relationships. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the book Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new online experience where people can meet in ways that are inspiring, respectful, and fun. Today, I’m going to be answering your questions about your relationship issues. This week and every week when I have an episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the true skills of dating are the deep skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest building blocks of all for a happy, rich, and meaningful life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You’ll find transcripts of every episode. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get lots of free resources and learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be an amazing thank you if you subscribed and left me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

    I’m going to need to do a few of these Q&As closer together, especially now that I’m doing an episode every two weeks for the time being, because there are many amazing questions that I got that I want to be able to answer. I’m only able to answer some of them at a time. Today, I’m going to talk about four questions that I got that all have a really similar theme. That theme is meeting someone who really feels like an attraction of inspiration, which is someone who you’re attracted to not because of their unavailability, not because of their mixed messages, not because of the chaos and the craziness, but because of their goodness, their decency, their authenticity and their availability, and a feeling of a mutual bond that just has a quality of goodness, solidity and trustability, which is a huge issue. All of these stories, all of these questions come from people who have found relationships like that, and are now struggling with certain issues that have come up.

    Moving Past The Regret And Confusion

    One person said to me that she really appreciates my work, which I really appreciate hearing, and that after reading my book and doing this work, she met her husband who is a truly wonderful guy. All of the qualities of inspiration that I mentioned and that I write about, she felt like were really, really there. It still feels like those qualities were really there, but she needed time and space, and he pushed it too fast. That left her not feeling safe. He was very uncomfortable and didn’t feel safe with the unknowing space. He really pushed things fast, and she went along with that feeling, kind of horrible, even though he was such a great guy. She said the engagement was horrible for that reason. She felt anxious, she felt pushed, she felt unsafe, but they got married.

    The best antidote to old hypnosis is a current relationship with reality.CLICK TO TWEETAlthough he was a wonderful person and they had a relationship that was good in so many ways, in this essential way, it wasn’t. She never felt safe. She never was able to get over the fact that she felt pushed into getting married too soon. They did couples therapy. At a certain point, then he gave up and he said, “I can never be who you want me to be.” He gave up and they separated. They have been kind since that separation. They have been decent, but she is left feeling deeply regretful and wondering. She asked, “Was I too much of a perfectionist? My soul didn’t feel safe, but how do I move past the regret and the confusion that I feel now that I’ve lost him, and the relationship is over? I lost him because he felt like I never really was able to fully love him or accept him or embrace the relationship.”

    This is so poignant. I want to say first something that I say to people a lot. I want to congratulate you and acknowledge your shift that you chose someone with such qualities of inspiration. It’s a huge deal. It is a shift. It means everything, even if this relationship didn’t work. That said, if you’re feeling such deep regret and confusion, and I want to say this to anybody who has lost or ended a relationship that felt like an attraction of inspiration. When there was a deep sense of safety and awareness of that person’s goodness, and there was potential, and there was attraction where you left or it didn’t end up working out, or you couldn’t embrace it, and you’re feeling deep regret and confusion, you might want to explore what was going on there. You might want to explore the possibility of trying again.

    I think that if we’re not sure, it’s worth it. We tell ourselves we need to move past a relationship, but some people are very good at knowing when they need to move past their relationship. They still feel, in a particular case, this regret and confusion. What I would say is there was a wound spot hit by the two of you, where he could not give you enough space. What that created for you was untenable. You gave yourself up in a way by saying, “Yes.” That resentment when we give ourselves up can be so deep and so profound. I do think if you want, it would be worth it. No matter what, it is worth exploring the giving up of your own pacing because your pacing is precious, and it’s central. Just like with sex and intimacy, we have to honor that pacing, even if it’s hard for the other person. Something to look at is where you gave up your boundaries.

    That’s something for you to look at no matter what. I would say if there’s more discussion to be had with him, have it. If there’s another chance that seems reasonable and possible, you might want to try for that. Even if it doesn’t work, you will be clearer after doing that. If someone is not abusive, it’s a good relationship, and you’re still not sure – there’s no addiction, there’s no untreated mental illness, there’s goodness, there’s decency, and you’re not sure, you might want to try again. You might want to explore the possibility of trying again.

    I don’t know about you, but I know a number of people who have tried again and had it work. I know a number of people who have tried again and had it not work but got clearer. In the case of an essentially good relationship, if you feel drawn to go back, you might want to consider doing that. I did a whole podcast episode on this. I also do think that at the end of a relationship like that, where there was at least a big amount of inspiration, rightness and trust, it’s worth it to think, “What did I learn? How might there have been my fear of intimacy that played a role in this? What will I know next time? What will I do differently next time?” That’s something you might want to think about even now. Was there an attraction of inspiration that you weren’t able to sustain? What are your reflections and what you would have done differently? You might want to take a minute to think about that right now. You can even pause the recording if you like.

    DDP 94 | Questions About Love
    Questions About Love: We are most attracted to the smell of people who are immunologically dissimilar.

     

    Biologically Incompatible

    Someone else asked, “Are there people who are just biologically not compatible?” She says, “With my boyfriend, from the very beginning, I had issues with his breath and smell.” She said, “At this point, I hate his smell. Is this the wave of distancing?” For those of you who don’t know, that’s when you meet someone and they’re really available, really decent and really trustable. The excitement feels like it’s not there and you just want to flee. The reason is often a deep fear of availability. I’ve spoken about this and what to do about it a lot in previous podcasts. Anyway, she said, “I am just now completely repulsed by his smell. I don’t want to have sex. He’s a wonderful person and I’m afraid to go deeper. Is this a biological incompatibility? What do I do?”

    This is a really rich question. Of course, I’m going to start with the simplest part here. If someone’s breath is bad, that probably means that they have gum decay or tooth decay. That is something that’s addressable that you have every right in the world to ask them to address. It’s hard to do, but you really do deserve this. If they have body odor of any sort, it’s the same thing – you have a right to ask that they take care of that. It’s important to do that, but that might not be this. Although the breath thing does sound like it might be that. I did a little bit of research into this and found out some very fascinating things. One piece of this is that we have a sequence of more than a hundred immune system genes known as MHC, Major Histocompatibility Complex. What science has discovered is that we are most attracted to the smell of people who are immunologically dissimilar. In other words, their MHC profile is different than ours. In cases where the MHC profile is very similar, there’s going to be less attraction to the person’s smell and maybe less attraction to the person as a whole.

    Interestingly, there’s also more chance of immunologically healthier offspring between partners whose MHC complex is dissimilar. People whose MHC complex is more similar are more likely to have children who are less disease resistant. Interestingly too, the only time that that awareness is not there fully for women is when they’re on birth control. When they’re on birth control pills, supposedly their ability to get the scent dissatisfaction that they experienced with people whose MHC is different than theirs. They don’t have that ability if they’re on birth control pills. That’s an interesting thing too.

    There are also other factors, like for example, trauma. When we have trauma memories, when we have trauma experiences, certain kinds of smells can trigger us, or fears can come up and they can manifest themselves in ways like a repulsion towards someone’s smell. This is a concept of the wave. Often, when we meet someone who is available and we become afraid, we start feeling repulsed by them. This is something that is also worth exploring. This is so multifactorial. Please don’t think that we are just so much victims of biology in our MHC complexes because we have to look, could it be a fear of intimacy?

    The last thing that I would say is if you have looked at these issues, if you don’t think it’s the wave, if you have this person address hygiene issues and you know that it’s not necessarily an illness related issue or a hygiene-related issue, or a gum disease-related issue, and you just cannot get past their smell, and this goes on, you do need to not torture yourself and just accept that that’s the way things are. I also want to say something else too, that there may be ways that you can be with the person that are very sexy and very hot that somehow bypass some of the smell issues. There might be parts of their body that you don’t like to smell and other parts that you don’t feel that way. If this is a really special relationship, once again, I say, look into all those possibilities. Ultimately, you can’t be with someone who you just feel repulsed by their smell, and some of the other factors that we mentioned.

    Deeper love begins by the way you handle the things your intuition says are off.CLICK TO TWEET

    Emotional Sobriety

    Someone else said that she’s done a lot of recovery work around emotional sobriety. She had parents who were abused and addicted. She said she’s proud of the work that she’s done because she’s lost her taste for attractions of deprivation, which I celebrate hearing. She doesn’t have any attractions of deprivation anymore. That doesn’t happen for her in her romantic life. She said she’s two months in with a kind and wonderful guy, and she feels now it’s the next step. It’s not being with someone who was an attraction of deprivation and going through all of the roller coaster of that. This is something different. She’s with a kind and wonderful guy. She feels like she doesn’t have it in her to believe that she is loved. She said that the excitement of chaos also isn’t there. I want to say something about this, and I’m wondering if any of you relate to this. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been with someone who loved you, and was available and was present, and you couldn’t take it in? You couldn’t really believe it. I want to say a few things about that. The biggest thing that I want to say is, on some level, that’s okay. That is human.

    For those of us, and I include myself in this, who have had a particular kind of trauma in life, there’s some way that some parts of us believe in the love, and other parts just can’t. It’s like putting two positive ends of a magnet together and they can’t connect. I know that I have parts of me to this day, thirteen years into the relationship with my husband, where I cannot believe in his love for me, even though it’s there and it’s present, so I create bypasses. Those bypasses are all the ways that my body knows I’m loved, that I know that my nervous system knows that I’m safe, and I’m treasured because of his behaviors, because of all the ways that my nervous system senses what my mind can’t always believe. I trust those pathways and I follow them. Also, I talk about it. When I hit these junctures where it’s hard for me to believe in his love for me, I talk about it.

    In fact, I’ll share that the night before we got married, I took a walk with him to the beach and I said, “I love you. I know you love me, but some part of me doesn’t believe it. We’re getting married tomorrow and some part of me is still too afraid to believe it.” It was great that I said that and he made space for it. I just want to make space for the parts of all of us, where we don’t believe yet that we’re loved, where we can’t take it in so that we can create pockets, where at those times we don’t ride on our cognition. We ride more maybe on our nervous system where we essentially feel safe, or maybe we just take our partner’s hand and be quiet together.

    A therapist said to me something so wise once, and I love it. It’s been so useful to me as a therapist. She said, “The best antidote to an old hypnosis is a current relationship with reality.” If your old hypnosis is in the truth of not being loved, the truth of non-availability, the truth of abuse, by being with your partner in ways that don’t feel suffocating, that don’t push you and don’t pressure you, but let your nervous system and your heart, or maybe your skin, because touch helps so much, register and realize the care that is there for you. That helps us get past those cognitive places where we can’t get it or believe it, or those nervous system places where we can’t believe it, or those deep trauma places where we can’t believe it. We do not have to get rid of those, but what is good to do is to be able to hold them with cupped hands, with non-judgment, and to learn from them the language of how we get past them, how we hold them, how we stay connected, even when parts of us don’t feel connected. That’s just so much of the story of real intimacy that we don’t get taught.

    This listener also shared some feedback on a previous episode. The episode of the interview I did with Mike Moran where date rape was mentioned. She said that that was kind of upsetting for her to hear the words date rape, because date rape minimizes the fact that rape is rape, and the fact that it happened on a date doesn’t at all change the reality of rape. That phrase date rape is a very minimizing and disrespectful term. I want to thank you so much for that. I really appreciate that. It makes perfect sense and I learned something. Thanks for your bravery in sharing that. I wanted to share it with my listeners’ community and apologize for that and acknowledge that.

    DDP 94 | Questions About Love
    Questions About Love: Those things that we think are intuition can be blindingly powerful, but when it’s an arena where a lot is at stake, we can’t always trust our intuition.

     

    Not That Almost Man

    The last question that I’m going to take, and there are so many more, and I will get to them as well as I can in the time that I have. This is a very poignant one. It’s someone who is talking about facing the end of a relationship. “After about three years of being mostly single,” she said in her words, “I met someone who was not that almost man, almost loving, almost available, almost kind, almost respectful. He was not an almost man.” In fact, they had visualized each other, and they shared with each other things that they wrote in their visualization process of qualities they’d want their partner to have that articulated the other person. These are two people who are deeply intuitive, and each had visualized the other. She said that, “It has been beautiful and I celebrate that. That is wonderful.”

    She said one month in, after a day of planning their future together, her partner who’s deeply intuitive said he needed to take a pause, and it’s been about a month now, because he somehow felt that there was something that was not right. He wanted time. He wanted to honor that he was certain that it was not fear, a kind of unconscious fear. He wanted to take the time in that month to honor himself and to explore what it was that didn’t feel right to his intuition. What she said is, “For me, I’m very intuitive too, and my intuition is saying, ‘Yes, this is good and this is right.’”

    One thing I want to say about intuition, and this is something I’ve also talked about in a previous podcast, is sometimes it’s hard to know what is intuition and what is fear. What is intuition and what is a need that doesn’t want to face reality? Those things that we think are intuition can be blindingly powerful, but when it’s an arena where a lot is at stake, we can’t always trust our intuition. I feel that very strongly. I think that that is true in early relationships. To the person who asked the question, it might be that your intuition is based on a kind of sensing something wrong too that frightens you that you don’t want to face. It may be that his intuition is exactly that. All I’m saying is that this is a point that it’s good to check in with the friends who know us and love us, and hear what they have to say, because they may say or this guy’s friends might say to him, “You have done this before and don’t mess this one up.”

    Maybe your friends might say to you something similar, or maybe your friends will say, “No, I get it. This really feels right between the two of you.” All I’m saying is when it comes to big decisions where there’s a heavy charge and especially situations where there’s been trauma, struggling or suffering around something that matters as much as a relationship, get help. Don’t trust that your intuition is your intuition. You might ultimately trust it but get those side-view mirrors going, where you can get focus from other people because you do, WE do have blind spots. Often, those blind spots feel so much like intuition. I am hoping that this guy is not taking a complete break from the relationship for a month. If he is, I think that’s a warning sign because the best antidote to an old hypnosis is through a current relationship with reality.

    His being with you is how he’s going to come to understand which pieces of this might be things that don’t feel safe, that might be just historical for him, which are pieces that feel true. If they are true, I want to say that as we progress in a relationship, we reach a point where there are deep flaws or off-nesses that we feel in our relationship. That is what’s supposed to happen. That is when deeper love begins by the way you handle the things that your intuition says are off. That’s the meat and the potatoes of the heart of intimacy. Not fleeing and going into a cave and thinking you’re going to work it out yourself, but working it out with support, with side-view mirrors, and in relationship with the other person. What I would want to say to this guy is, “Yes, your intuition probably is telling you something is off. Explore that, but don’t just explore it in your head, explore it in the relationship.” That’s what I would say to the two of you. I hope that that is something that can happen.

    I also want to say that I love these questions, because these questions reflect people who have lost their taste for unhealthy relationships and are now dealing with the challenges that come up in relationships that are basically good, even if those relationships don’t work. I just want to acknowledge that progress. I want to ask each one of you to think about what touched you in this episode. What related to your experience? Think about are there any pieces of wisdom in this, any insights that you feel you want to take and apply to your life that feel true to you? Take a minute and think about that. I want to thank you all. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. For those folks who are single, go to DeeperDating.com. It is a new place that we have created for thoughtful, caring, single people to meet. I look forward to speaking with you again soon. Blessings on your intimacy journey

  • Swipe Circuitry: How Online Dating Trains Us To Stay Single [EP093]
    Table of Contents

    Swipe Circuitry: How Online Dating Trains Us To Stay Single

    How To Stop Fleeing Love While You Seek It Online

    Swipe circuitry is this incredibly seductive behavior pattern that’s sculpted by online dating, that actually leads us away from the love that we’re seeking. Stay tuned to this episode to learn more about what swipe circuitry is and how you can stop it.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating, and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for single people to meet online that’s respectful, warm and inspiring. Today, I’m going to talk about what I call swipe circuitry, a behavior pattern in online dating that looks like it can lead us to love, but actually leads us away from it. Every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the real skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and resources, and you’ll learn a lot more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and thanks for the amazing reviews that so many of you have left. Let’s jump in.

    We push love away while we’re looking for it.CLICK TO TWEET

    Studies On Swipe-Based Dating Apps

    Let me start out with some pretty amazing statistics. Research from the West Sydney University and the University of Sydney has directly linked the experience of swipe-based dating apps to higher rates of depression and psychological distress. In 2017, there was a study that linked the use of Tinder with negative self-esteem and body shame, but interestingly, not leading to any positive change in diet or eating habits. Another study showed that the app Grindr was way at the top of the apps that made people feel most unhappy. Seventy-seven percent of them admitted that it made them feel miserable. Tinder was up there too, but here is something interesting too, is that 70% of gay relationships began online. Clearly, there is good here. There is potential here. There is capacity here, but there are patterns that get sculpted by what I call swipe circuitry, that gets sculpted by dating apps that do swiping, and get sculpted by dating apps in general.

    Here’s another wild statistic. Less than 10% of matches in swipe apps are consummated with even a hello, because the users keep playing instead of messaging the matches that were already made. This is huge. This is deep and this is so symbolic of the incredible possibilities that exist in online dating, and the behaviors that get sculpted out of these apps that pull us away from really being able to make use of these incredible resources. Less than 10% even get a hello, and these are matches. These are matches that were made. I think that speaks to the gamifying of swipe apps and what happens to us.

    Pushing Love Away While Looking For It

    I’m going to talk about this a little more because it’s really interesting what happens to us. This is what it is, it’s the ways in which we push love away while we’re looking for it. I know for me, this is one of the most profound realizations that I had to have, was that in my desperate and ongoing and relentless search for a relationship, I was pushing love away. I was trusting numbers and I was trusting in getting in great shape. I was trusting meeting lots of people. I was trusting in all of those things, that because they have nothing to do with intimacy, ultimately failed me in my search for intimacy.

    Unavailability has a spice, a kind of umami, that is so lovely, so exciting, so delicious, and so compelling, and really feels like love.CLICK TO TWEETWhether you’re using swiping apps or not, whether you’re using online dating as a tool or not, I think these questions are very powerful. How in the ways that I’m searching for love might I be pushing love away? What are my metaphors for this concept of getting a match and 9 out of 10 times, not even responding? I’ll tell you what some of mine were that I’m clear on. One was consistently looking for people who were sexy, spicy, attractive, desirable, and did not get me or weren’t available. That was one way that I did that. Another way that I did that was, unconsciously, I fled the possibility of real intimacy with peers who could be available. I don’t know if it seemed more boring or claustrophobic or scary to me, but what I told myself is that those people were not exciting enough. That’s a really interesting point, I think.

    Unavailability has a spice, a kind of umami that is so lovely, so exciting, so delicious, and so compelling, and really feels like love. Not so much the experience of living in love, but the experience of longing for love and feeling like it’s almost in reach, but not quite. When you fall for someone who’s not available, there’s no fear, and that is such a relief. I know that was such a relief for me. Unavailable people, I had no fear. Now, if it was someone available, I would start to feel claustrophobic. I would start to lose interest. I would start to feel bored, and the glory of unavailable people was that I could just feel delightful, excitement, and attraction with none of that fear, because there’s a gulp that has to happen. There’s a kind of like a swallowing of discomfort when you go through the process of having someone who is a stranger, who’s available and interested, and wants to enter into your world, actually, go from being a stranger to being someone you deeply bond with is hard and it’s scary.

    Research shows that the degree to which we don’t yet really love ourselves or honor ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t really love us, or honor us fully, or are not available. The degree to which we don’t love ourselves enough is the degree to which, when we meet people who are interested and available, we’re going to want to push them away. We’ll have a deep discomfort. This is what I call the wave of distancing. I’ve talked about it a lot. I think it’s one of the greatest, if not THE greatest saboteur of healthy new love. These apps that are constantly bringing you to the next, to the new, are very powerful for getting us over the discomfort that comes with availability. I think that’s a huge reason why so many of these matches aren’t consummated. It’s like, then I’ll have to talk to this person, then I might have to feel obligated to this person. I might not like this person. They might like me and I won’t like them, and that’s kind of exhausting, and you don’t want to have that happen, or maybe they’re kind of exciting and I’m scared because they might not like me.

    DDP 93 | Swipe Circuitry
    Swipe Circuitry: Research shows that the degree to which we don’t really love or honor ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t really love us or honor us fully.

     

    Circuitries Of Attraction

    I think something that is very important to understand, if we are trying to have a conscious and effective dating life and search for love, is this concept of circuitries of attraction. I think that all of us have different circuitries of attraction. The two big ones that I talk about a lot are attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. Just to briefly describe those, I’ve spoken about them a lot in different episodes, an attraction of deprivation is where the sexiness, and the attraction, and the desire, at least in part, springs from the sense that someone is almost available, or is almost going to like us. They’re just somehow out of reach, and that is so sexy. It brings up such deep longing inside us, or they don’t fully accept us, or they accept us, but they don’t treasure us, or they miss our jokes and they miss our ideas, and they don’t get kind of our unique genius or our way of seeing the world. We feel like we are not seen or loved or cherished enough, but we almost are enough. We try to get that person to love us more fully, to get our jokes, to understand our unique kind of intelligence, to appreciate our beauty. You know, when you have to try that hard, it means that it’s not working.

    It’s hard to describe how sexy these attractions are and how they pull at us, and how they feel like love, but these are what I call attractions of deprivation. It’s a circuitry all of us have. It’s like that playing hard to get kind of thing activates that circuitry. So much of the men’s seduction techniques are based on triggering that circuitry in women. So much of women’s seduction techniques to get a man are based on not being too available and all those kinds of things. Lots more to say about that in another episode, but the research clearly shows that playing hard to get doesn’t work. We can talk about that more in other episodes. Anyway, those are attractions of deprivation, and how many years or months have we spent lost in those attractions?

    One of the things that happen in those attractions is that we are branded again and again with our feelings of insecurity. They’re branded more deeply into us. They prove the point that we’re not enough, but if we try harder, we might become enough, which translates into we are essentially just not enough. This is a powerful circuitry. It’s one that gets triggered easily, but for almost all of us, it is not our only circuitry. We have another circuitry, which I call attractions of inspiration. That’s when we’re attracted to somebody because of their goodness, their decency, their authenticity, qualities like creativity and originality, but the kind of good qualities, the qualities of decency, goodness, truth-telling, availability, and the kind of consistent, essential, liking and loving of us. Now, this is a different circuitry of attraction.

    When you fall for someone who’s not available, there’s no fear, and that is such a relief.CLICK TO TWEETHere’s a really interesting point. The people that kind of grab at you and excite you deeply and intensely from the beginning often do so because unconsciously, you recognize that they’re not going to love you the way that you want to be loved. That reminds you of ways in your life that you weren’t loved the way that you want to be loved, and that’s very compelling. With attractions of inspiration, that desperate, sexy edge is not there. There’s a sense of goodness. There’s a sense of growing care. There can be such deep, rich, wonderful, fabulous lust. I’m absolutely not saying that can’t be there, but it’s a skill that we need to develop to allow that to happen in an attraction of inspiration, because for many of us, we just want to get out of there. We want to flee.

    How To Do Swiping Differently

    Now, in the land of online dating, what this means is that the people that you swipe most quickly “yes” on, the people that you swipe right on most quickly, are the people who are your scratch-the-itch type in most cases. I’m going to talk about how to do this, how to do swiping differently, but assuming you just kind of go with the sculpted behavior that comes out of this, the people that you’ll swipe right on will often be those real scratch-the-itch types, and those are often attractions of deprivation. All of this happens unconsciously, but it happens. This is not always the case, but it’s often the case. You just recognize that tiny little smirk, maybe that drop of arrogance that’s there, that little bit of superiority that like, you don’t quite name yet, but there’s something sexy there. A distance, a pullback that just grabs you. I know all of these so well from my own experiences.

    You have to look differently for an attraction of inspiration. You need to look for inspiration. You need to look for the qualities of decency, stability, values that you love. You need to look for these things. At a certain point, in my intensives and my courses, there’s a certain point where people reach where they’ve kind of explored their attractions of deprivation, their attractions of inspiration, and they make a pledge, and the pledge is, “No more attractions of deprivation. No more. I won’t do that again. I’m going to close the door on that no matter how sexy it seems. I’m only going to pursue my attractions of inspiration, people with deep goodness, decency, integrity, and a growing sense of availability.”

    DDP 93 | Swipe Circuitry
    Swipe Circuitry: Slow down enough to allow yourself not to be stuck on the type of person you always think you’re attracted to. Instead, slow down enough to feel the quality of chemistry with someone.

     

    When you make that choice, you begin to shift your attraction circuitries. Your circuitry of attractions of inspiration grows, and is watered and fed, just like to a hammer, everything is a nail. The more you’re in this decision to only choose inspiration, the more you will notice inspiration. You’ll notice people you wouldn’t have noticed before. Often, when you’re in that circuitry, a funny thing happens. You start remembering people from your past who were attractions of inspiration that you’ve kind of forgotten about. They come back to the fore. I always say to people, “When you do this kind of work and you grow in these kinds of ways, when people pop up from your past in your mind, and you remember, “That person was good and decent. That was an attraction of inspiration and I wasn’t ready for it.” You can find out what those people are doing. They might be available. It might be a match. I think that’s always good to do. I’ve heard so many stories of people later just becoming friends with these people.

    When you’re swiping, you go into a different zone, you click into a different circuitry. Another interesting piece of research showed that college males often never ever use swiping apps even to hook up, much less to ever even speak or anything. They use it because it builds their self-esteem and it kind of helps them when they’re feeling bored. This is an amazing thing. Now, maybe you’re not using swiping apps. Maybe you’re not even dating online, but this is a very deep thing. What happens with these people who aren’t spicy because of their unavailability, cockiness, arrogance, mild disdain, or addictions? What happens with the people who aren’t those people but are real attractions of inspiration? What do you do with those people, because they just might not be quite as exciting at first. Do you ignore those people? Do you dismiss those people?

    Now, I am not saying that you should be with someone who’s intellectually boring to you, that you should not be with someone who’s not really attractive to you. Of course, you shouldn’t, but I promise you that there are people who are good and decent, who are deeply creative, who have great intellect, who are physically attractive to you and are going to be physically attracted to you. There’s quite a pool of people like that. Those are the people that you want to look for. You’re doing online dating, you’re doing swipe app dating, you’re not doing online dating, the kind of task becomes the same. It is to slow down, to move away from that kind of sped up circuitry, that kind of scratch-the-itch circuitry, because scratch-the-itch circuitry might lead to a hookup. It might lead to a bad relationship. You never know it might lead to a good relationship, but usually that kind of scratch-the-itch circuitry pulls you away from closeness and intimacy.

    The people that you swipe most quickly yes on are the people who are your scratch-the-itch type in most cases.CLICK TO TWEETWhat you want to do is to slow down enough, to allow yourself to not be stuck on the type of person that you always think you’re attracted to. Instead, slow down enough to feel into the quality of chemistry with someone. Often when you do that, it’s a hugely different experience than the experience of just being in your head and thinking, “This person is hot,” or “This person isn’t right for me.” When you slow down enough and you kind of go deep into your feeling state, you will feel different things than what your head is telling you. You want to know what those feelings are, because what those feelings are, are deeper chemistry, and you want to know what that deeper chemistry is.

    This is a really important thing. Take the time to find out, even when you want to flee, even when you want it to get away. This is a story that I often tell. My mentor, John McNeill, who was a brilliant author and theologian, who wrote the book, Taking a Chance on God and The Church and the Homosexual. He’s a hero of mine. I was telling him once in our spiritual direction sessions. I was telling him about somebody I was dating, and in his directing me, because I was saying that this guy was somewhat attractive. He was definitely not a red flag. No, but I wasn’t that interested. John said to me, “Keep dating him, because in time, either he’s going to become more beautiful to you or he’s not, and either way, you will know.”

    We do need to slow down. There are speed bumps with people who are attractions of inspiration. We get scared, but we don’t know it’s freer. In those cases, when that happens, what you want to do is slow down. You want to enjoy and almost fetishize, and appreciate the physical, emotional, and behavioral qualities about them that are sexy to you. You want to enjoy those, but with a little bit of space and a little bit of distance. You don’t necessarily want to force yourself to do sexual or intimate things that you don’t feel ready for. You keep a bit of space. You don’t flee and you don’t force yourself, and you allow this wave of distancing to pass, which it almost always will. When it passes, you will have a clearer sense of, “Is this person right for me, or are they not?”

    Now, we come to a wonderful question, and the question is, what ways do you use to push possible healthy love away while you’re looking for love? Just take a minute to think about that, because your answer is gold. It might be hard to swallow and a little humbling, but it is gold. If you can take that and begin to shift it, it’s just such an important piece of knowledge. I can pretty much assure you that if you do that, if you recognize it, if you admit it, and if you start to act outside of that circuitry, you will grow in wisdom, you will grow in intimacy, and you will speed your path to finding love by a lot. This is another thing, is that online dating is built to keep you looking and not finding, which is why I’ve devoted a lot of time to creating an online resource that is about real intimacy, that incubates intimacy from beginning, hopefully to end, and that’s DeeperDating.com. Please come and visit that site, and explore it. You can now meet people on there. You can create a profile, and you can meet other people and message with them all for free.

    I’d like you to just take a minute, as we move toward closing this episode and think, is there one thing that hit home for you in this, one thing that had charge, that had resonance for you, that felt important and significant around your own dating journey and search for love? Whatever that is, really value that. Just as we are saying, “Don’t move too quickly to the next while you’re dating. Don’t move too quickly to the next, when you have a beautiful insight or an awareness in your own search for love or intimacy journey because those things are gold.” Those are the things that make us stronger and wiser, and lead us to love. Those insights, those revelations have a very big bang for the buck. When we follow them and try to act based on them, doors open. I’ve seen this again and again. It is a beautiful truth. I want to encourage you to swipe slower, notice inspiration, and trust and honor your revelations about how you need to grow in your own search for love, and ways in which you can deepen in your capacity for love, and ways in which you can minimize the degree to which you flee love even as you’re searching for it. Thanks so much for listening and visit me on DeeperDatingPodcast.com or go to DeeperDating.com, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • 2 Wonderful Ways To Heal Your Inner Conflicts [EP092]
    What determines how much love and meaning your life can hold? Largely, the way you handle your inner conflicts! In this episode, you’ll learn two beautiful, quick, “wisdom-hacks” that will help you handle your inner conflicts in completely new ways. Try these techniques as you listen—I’ll teach you how—and watch how self-love grows, inner feelings of emptiness diminish, and a sense of deep well-being emerges. By the end of the episode, the techniques will be yours!

    Table of Contents

    2 Wonderful Ways To Heal Your Inner Conflicts

    Wisdom-Hacks to Soothe Pain, Learn Love, and Find Healing

    There are powerful life-changing techniques for handling our inner conflicts that most of us never get taught. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn two beautiful and powerful techniques to handle, evolve, and transform your own inner conflict.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Datingand the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new kinder, more respectful, and inspiring way for single people to meet online. Today, I’m going to talk about how we can hold and work with conflicting parts of ourselves. I’m going to share with you this week and every week, the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are the skills of love. We know that those are the greatest and most important skills of all for a happy, rich, and meaningful life. If you want to learn more about this approach, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can get free gifts there when you sign up for my mailing list and get transcripts of every one of these episodes.

    I also just want to say that everything in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please do seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, it would be so wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. The reviews that I get are beautiful and powerful, and they help other people decide to tune in to this show. Thank you so much for that, and let’s jump in.

    The skills of dating are the skills of love.CLICK TO TWEETToday, I want to share with you two of the most beautiful exercises I know for self-healing, for evolution, and also for healing internal conflict and internal pain. I love these processes. I think they carry a great deal of wisdom and compassion. I’m excited to teach them to you, give you the framework for them, and then as you listen, you could simply, easily and quickly practice them. In some way, they’re no big deal at all. You’re going to get to do that during the course of this episode, and when the episode is over, you’ll have some rich experience with this and it will be portable. It’s a portable process, so you can take it with you and use it whenever you like.

    What these processes are going to do are going to create an inner environment that gives space and dignity to whatever it is that you’re struggling with, and to the different conflicting parts of you. By giving something space and dignity, and not demanding an instant solution, but trusting that this way of holding it with space and dignity will lead to some kind of growth and wisdom. The act of just doing that is very powerful.

    A brilliant researcher who many of you might have heard of, and psychotherapist, Carl Rogers, a powerful force in the field of humanistic psychology. He did a very seminal research study. He researched psychotherapists, who worked in a huge variety of approaches. Some were behavioral, all different kinds of approaches to psychotherapy. Some were psychoanalytic, and he researched many of them to see the success of their methods to determine which would be the most successful methods.

    This is what he found out. He found out that it wasn’t so much about the methods. That the magic ingredient, the secret ingredient, the ingredient that created change more than the technique itself was what he called Unconditional Positive Regard. That meant that the therapist looked at the client with a sense of respect, dignified where they were at, allowed them to be where they were at, and saw the person’s inherent goodness and worth. The act of looking at someone that way and interacting with someone in that way, that’s the way you hold their being as they struggle with their problems. It’s the most healing thing of all that can be done. These two processes that you’re going to learn are going to be ways that you are going to learn to hold yourself in crisis, in difficulty and in transition with unconditional positive regard. They’re simple, and they’re lovely.

    Holding With Cupped Hands

    I’m going to start with the first one now. This is one that I call “Holding with Cupped Hands”. If you’ve listened to a number of my podcasts, or if you’ve been to any of my classes or intensives, you’ve heard this concept before. It’s very precious. It’s very seminal. It’s very foundational to this approach. What it is, is being able to hold your humanity in the middle of conflict or difficulty with this sense of dignity, compassion, and caring. We’re going to do the hand motions. Hopefully, you’re not in public so that you could do this to get a sense of it. What I’d like you to do is to imagine that there is an issue that you’re dealing with. Go ahead and pick an issue that you’re dealing with in your life right now. Not a really hugely traumatic one. Maybe one that’s somewhat annoying or somewhat challenging, but not bigger than that.

    We’re going to think about how you hold this problem, knowing that the way that you will hold it is going to sculpt the outcome of how you grow around it to a large degree. If you imagine holding it with flat hands, just take your hands and open them up and hold them flat. No kindness, no warmth, just flat hands. Imagine this issue sitting there in this cold open space. Nothing really happens. Take your hands and imagine squeezing this problem tight, like trying to squeeze it into a solution. I think we all know what that feels like to try to squeeze something into some kind of premature or prefab solution that feels violent, colder or unkind to do.

    In the long run, it’s the act of honoring that’s the antidote to our bewilderment and the path to our own unique genius.CLICK TO TWEETNow, take your hands and hold them cupped like you were cupping holding a baby bird, and now just experience or imagine holding whatever this issue is with cupped hands, not worrying about a solution but just holding it in that way. How does that feel different? If you’re imagining doing it because you’re in a public space, how do you imagine that would feel different? This act of holding with cupped hands is one of the practices that in my intensives and my work with clients, we do often, we do again and again.

    We don’t only have to do this with problems or difficulties. The act of holding our humanity with cupped hands. When we do that, there’s a slowing down. There’s a connecting to maybe the sadness of our humanity, the decency, the goodness of our humanity. There’s something kind in it, and there’s something immensely soothing. It’s that amazing experience of being a good parent to yourself. It’s something I heard about for years and years, and didn’t get until I learned these processes. Maybe I didn’t learn them until I became a dad, and found out what that meant to hold your child’s heart and emotions with cupped hands.

    Take a minute right now and notice, recognize whatever it is you’re feeling at the moment. Just let yourself imagine holding it with cupped hands. You could do this physical symbol of holding your hands cupped like you were holding a baby bird, and imagine holding your heart and your humanity in your hands in that way. Let yourself feel that. I want to share with you some of the things that will happen for you, I believe, if you practice this. One thing that will happen will be that there will be a sense of dignity in you just being you, nothing other than you. In your quirkiness, in your craziness, in your sadness, in your sweetness, in your joy, in your excitement, in your whatever. There’s a way that you’ll be making space for the reality that a being who is just like you exists in the world.

    DDP 92 | Heal Inner Conflicts
    Heal Inner Conflicts: The heart of the practice of being an artist is that you don’t try to change your experience to be what you think it should be. Instead, you will hold your experience with cupped hands and then create and express from that place by allowing it to be.

     

    I think in some ways, this is the heart of the practice of being an artist, is that you don’t try to change your experience to be what you think it should be. Instead, you will hold your experience with cupped hands, and then you create an express from that place by allowing it to be. I think too that it makes us better human beings. We become the being we’re meant to be, and we get more comfortable in our own quirky skin when we do this. Also, there’s a kind of aura or blossoming of energy that happens out of this space. It’s a kind of luminosity. It’s a kind of being lit from within. Even in our sadness, even in our confusion, there is a feeling of beauty, and then the other thing is that somehow, it’s like we’re creating an environment of benevolence, which is healing and soothing, and somehow teaches us that it’s possible, that there is an environment of benevolence in the world and in life.

    Just the act of holding ourselves that way moves us closer to being sacred, moves us closer to a kind of magic that is our magic. When we do that, we glow as us in deeper and richer ways. It’s the ultimate holding environment in some ways, and it’s something that we can give ourselves, and we can do it when we feel joy, sadness, confusion, anything. That’s one process, this universal holding our hearts with cupped hands. I encourage you to try it and notice the differences that you experience in your own inner state, in your actions, and in your interactions. My guess is that if you do it for a while and start to feel it, it’s going to be a significant key, moving you to a more beautiful space, and a space that nourishes, allows, expresses, and creates intimacy and truth even more fully and deeply in your life.

    Holding Both

    Now, I want to talk about another process. This is  heavy stuff, I know. This is a process which I called “Holding Both”. It’s a process that we can do when we have conflicting sides, and God knows we all have a lot of conflicting sides. This is a process that you can do when you have two different conflicting sides. Why don’t you take a minute right now and imagine two different parts of yourselves that are both real and true but are conflicting. Maybe you have a part of you that is shy and afraid to speak out, and it’s real. It’s really a part of you. It affects and influences your life, and then you have another part of you that is fierce.

    The act of self-honoring may be challenging, but ultimately, it’s the most comforting path of all.CLICK TO TWEETI know someone who calls that part of herself, the pirate queen. A part of yourself that wants to express things and does express things, that needs to express things. That would be one example of two conflicting parts. Maybe another set of conflicting parts would be a part of you that craves closeness, intimacy, and approval, and another part of you that craves freedom and truth. At different times, those parts pull in really different directions. The freedom and truth part might want independence, might want to say things that are going to get you in trouble, or maybe even hurt other people’s feelings, but they’re the truth for you.

    The other part of you doesn’t want to cause pain, wants connection, wants affiliation. It doesn’t want to hurt people. That’s another example of two different parts. Maybe you have a sexual part that’s wild, crazy, free and expressive, and another sexual part of you that’s private, quiet and deeply internalized. That would be another example. There are so many different examples of different parts of ourselves. A part that needs to be quiet that is deeply quiet, and another part that’s crazy, social and bubbly, all different parts. I’d like you to take a minute now, and think of two parts of you that are different and can get into conflict. They each want and need what they want and need, and don’t fit well together.

    DDP 92 | Heal Inner Conflicts
    Heal Inner Conflicts: Honoring is the skill that enables us to live the beauty and the mission of our core gifts in the world.

     

    Picture those two parts of you. Here’s what we’re going to do with this. I want you to imagine the first part, whichever it is, it could be either one. Imagine it as a child, your child, maybe 7, 8, 10, 12 years old, whatever feels right to you. You’re just going to let this child be your child, and you’re going to put this child on one knee, and you’re going to put your arm around this child. This is the part of you that is shy, timid, intense, expressive, and fierce, whatever those qualities are. This is one of those two children that are yours. Imagine this wonderful child that you love resting on one of your knees, and your arm around them, just like you would do with a child who had very particular needs, and your arm is around this kid.

    Now, think of this opposite quality of you. Imagine this as another one of your kids. It’s so different with a really different life trajectory, with different strengths, with different weaknesses, with a different journey altogether, but your kid, your child also. Imagine this child now sitting on your other knee, and you put your arm around this child too. You’re not going to do anything to make them communicate or be more like each other or change them.

    All you’re going to do is sit there with these two parts of yourself, one on each knee holding both of these kids, both of these precious, real, and true parts of your being. Such different children, but both yours, and just imagine taking your arms, keeping your arms and putting them around them, and just holding them. Now, feel what it’s like to hold both without trying to change either, your two very different children, and you love them both, and you’re holding them both. Try this right now for a moment and see how it feels.

    This is an exquisite way to evolve in your relationship with these two different parts of you. Both of which, of course, need a place at the voting table of your life. Probably, both of which have felt pissed off because they haven’t been listened to enough, cramped by the other one, and maybe judged as well. Maybe, one has been more appreciated than the other, but now you’re holding both. It’s a beautiful exercise, and when you do it, both of these precious parts of your being, both of which hold the true Core Gifts, which are essential for your being. Even if one of them is shy, timid, and afraid, it’s still true. That experience of simply holding both will make you so much of a richer, more amazing, and full human being. These are processes of honoring.

    I’d like to read something that I wrote in my book, Deeper Dating. “In the long run, it’s the act of honoring that’s the antidote to our bewilderment and the path to our own unique genius. The act of self-honoring may be challenging, but ultimately, it’s the most comforting path of all. Every other path hurts. Everything else is broken glass, sharp brambles in our side. Honoring is the skill that enables us to live the beauty and the mission of our Core Gifts in the world. It requires giving up the whip we wield against ourselves. It requires a kindness, a listening to our gifts. Anything less than honoring is essentially an act of quiet violence against ourselves. We can’t dishonor our Core Gifts without repercussions.”

    I want to read a beautiful poem from Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my great heroes in the world who, at this point, is very ill and probably not much longer for the world. He’s a true hero and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King. Here’s his poem, “I hold my face in my hands. No, I am not crying. I hold my face in my two hands to keep the loneliness warm, two hands protecting, two hands nourishing, two hands preventing my soul from leaving me in anger.” It’s a beautiful poem. As you practice these two techniques of deep, radical honoring, you will emerge more and more as you. That is a beautiful and powerful thing. It is the soil in which rich intimacy can grow in your life. Thank you for listening. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Empower Your Deepest Intimacy Gifts [EP091]
    Core Gifts are the most tender, passionate, and authentic parts of us. They lie at the very heart of our ability to love. To embrace them is to be guided inexorably to deeper love, greater authenticity, and our very life-mission. To ignore them is to commit an act of quiet violence against ourselves. Join Ken Page in this episode to discover, nourish, and embrace your own Core Gifts.

    Table of Contents

    How To Empower Your Deepest Intimacy Gifts

    The Five Essential Needs Of Your Core Gifts

    How can you identify your deepest Core Gifts and how can you strengthen, empower, and nourish them in a way that transforms your life and your search for love? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn how.

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book Deeper Datingand the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, which is a new and revolutionary platform for single people to meet in ways that are kinder, more inspiring, and emotionally safer. Today, I’m going to be talking about how you can identify and empower and nourish your Core Gifts, which are the attributes that are the most essentially you and really hold the key to your success in your intimacy journey. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, honor the love that you find, and keep it flourishing while you heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and the skills of intimacy are the greatest and most important skills of our lives.

    If you want to learn more about my work and receive some free gifts and hear about a lot of different resources, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you’ll also find transcripts of every episode there. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review. Your reviews have been so beautiful and powerful and mean so much to me and kind of helped this project along. Thank you so much for that.

    Let’s jump in. I want to talk about the great hungers of your Core Gifts. Your Core Gifts are the most tender, sensitive, and passionate parts of you. They’re the places where you care the most and you feel the most, where you get most wounded and most inspired. They’re kind of the blueprint to understanding how you work in the world, what your mission is, what matters to you, and what is your language of love, and what are your languages of intimacy. We find our Core Gifts whenever we feel the most vulnerable and the most authentic, the most creative, the most passionate. As I describe in my book, Deeper Dating, they lie at the very heart of your creativity and your love. If we open to these Core Gifts, they guide us inexorably to what matters most to us. When we ignore them, which is so easy to do, we commit an act of quiet violence against ourselves.

    ”DDP
    Core Gifts: We have been trained that the most essential parts of ourselves are embarrassing, get us in trouble, hurt us, or can’t be seen or shown.

    In this episode, I’m going to help you discover your own Core Gifts and I’m going to talk about the five great hungers that these Core Gifts have. The parts of them that need to be fed and as you feed them, they become richer, stronger, more empowered, and they guide your life more powerfully. Of course, when they do, that means you’re leading with your heart, that means you’re leading with your soul, that means you’re leading with your essence and your truth. When you do that, the heft of your being, the power of your heart, in your kind of innate nature takes form in such important ways.

    Let’s talk about what your Core Gifts are. To discover what your Core Gifts are, which is the work of a lifetime, you can begin by asking yourself three very particular questions and then studying your life, studying your days and your minutes and your hours to see what the answers are. You’ll learn such usually important things about yourself when you do that. Here are the three questions. What qualities in you have led to your greatest experiences of joy? Now, that’s a complicated question. The first thing you would need to think about is, what have been your greatest and richest moments of joy. Maybe just think of a few of those really rich moments and then think, what’s an attribute of yours that led you to that joy. You can pause as often as you want for this podcast or you could just keep going and answer the questions as we go.

    Next question. What sensitivities in you have led to your deepest suffering? Then there’s that same process there where you think, “What have been my experiences of deepest suffering? Where do I suffer the most deeply? What are the sensitivities in me that are triggered by things that make me suffer?” These are core gift places, and then finally, what do you long to create or do in the world? What is there longing for in you? These also speak to Core Gifts Just in thinking about those questions, you can see that your answers, that this touches profoundly deep roots of your being, the deepest roots of your being and these core gift qualities need to be named, cherished, and fed by us if they’re going to flourish.

    The Hunger To Be Accepted By Our Ultimate Parent

    To thrive in this world, each gift that we have needs to be nourished in five particular ways. As I run through these five ways, just notice if any idea strikes a deep chord in you and if it does, again, you might just want to pause just to reflect on its personal meaning for you. The first thing that your Core Gifts need, first and foremost, is to feel accepted by their ultimate parent and that’s you, but that’s not always so simple because we get frightened by the intensity of our passion, for example. We get punished for the intensity of our passion, or we get punished for speaking truth, or we get punished for living and acting outside our prescribed gender roles, or we get stepped on because of our tenderness.

    Your Core Gifts are the most tender, sensitive, and passionate parts of you.CLICK TO TWEETSo many different ways that we have been trained that these most precious parts of ourselves, the most original and true and essential parts of ourselves are embarrassing, get us in trouble, hurt us, can’t be shown, can’t be seen, etc. Maybe you have felt this experience. I know I’ve been frightened by the intensity of my passion, all different kinds of passion. I know that I have felt many times that my heart was too tender to survive in the cold commerce of day-to-day life. Maybe you’ve felt something like that too, or that fear that if you really shared what you thought, and felt or wanted to express, that you’d be rejected or punished or misunderstood.

    All of these things point to our truth, our genius, our heart, our Core Gifts, and our authenticity. You know, many of us have been deeply hurt many times in each of the ways that I just mentioned. We learn to treat our gifts almost like children that we secretly love but publicly can feel embarrassed by. We treat our gifts gingerly. We create airbrushed versions of them that won’t get us in trouble. Most of us feel ambivalent about our Core Gifts and we know they’re the truest parts of ourselves but they scare us and for good reason because they are powerful, fierce, true, and essential, and spring from roots that are so not prefab. They’re so authentic, they’re so original and alive that it’s just scary to go with them.

    My parents were Holocaust survivors. I’ve talked about them a number of times. They learned the hard way that weakness meant death and I grew up as a boy in the ‘50s and the ‘60s who was a really sensitive kid and I was really ashamed of my sensitivity. I was embarrassed by how I was moved to tears in movies and humiliated by the intensity of my emotional responses to other people’s suffering and pain. So many things, joys and pains, knocked me down at the knees. They were hard for me to bear and I had a beautiful secret world where I loved and treasured these things, but I was also ashamed of them when it came to living them in the world, which meant that socially I was ashamed of them, which meant that there was a circuitry and a pathway that was going to lead to a lot of unhappiness in later years in my romantic life.

    Going back to then, I knew that my sensitivity was a weakness. Now, I know the opposite is true. I know that my weakness was my lack of respect for my own sensitivity. My weakness was in my terror of dignifying that sensitivity and that’s been one of the greatest, hardest, and richest lessons in my life. That sensitivity is one of my Core Gifts. I think that my best writing and my best work as a teacher and a psychotherapist springs from those very qualities I always thought I had to hide that were mortifying to me.

    DDP 91 | Core Gifts
    Core Gifts: To help our gifts mature in the world, we need to help cultivate their opposite so that we can use them more wisely.

    What does this touch for you? What are qualities like that, that are kind of coming into your consciousness as I’m saying these things, parts of yourself that are very alive and very true, that it’s been a journey to learn to dignify and treasure and honor? This work of deep self-acceptance doesn’t involve building some larger than life self-confidence, which is why I’m always troubled by dating advice that just tells you to be more confident. That’s easy to do when you’re feeling confident, but when you’re not feeling confident, that means that you just kind of need to fake it. What are the skills when you’re not feeling confident of being able to somehow still be confident in your not confidentness? I think those skills are saying, what’s not making me feel safe now? What’s not making me feel confident and honoring that and making space for it?

    That to me is true rich, self-dignifying, and kind of the antithesis of this model of faking confidence so that you look sexier. It’s really more about a moment-to-moment acceptance of your currents of experience and emotion running through every moment of your days. Our Core Gifts are always trying to get us to listen to them, like a kid is always trying to get his or her parents or their parents to listen to them. Our Core Gifts are trying to do that sometimes in a gentle whisper, sometimes in a painful shout, sometimes in sullen, angry silence, but as long as we’re alive, our Core Gifts are going to be waiting for us to love them and accept them and to finally give them their freedom.

    The Hunger To Be Shared

    Another hunger of our Core Gifts is the hunger to be shared. Giving and being given to are not luxuries, they’re imperatives. What water is to a plant, generosity is to your gifts. We all hunger to give. We need to give. We long for children. We long for pets. We long for loved ones because unfettered giving is one of life’s absolute joys. Our Core Gifts must be given and they must touch others, and we must see this happening before we can ever truly feel like we’re worthy. In my many, many, many years of practice as a psychotherapist, I’ve seen that my clients who are generous are the ones who are the most capable of happiness. It’s the ones who cherish and honor and water their generosity that have the happiest and richest lives, not always, but essentially, I find and in the long run, I really find that to be true. Which of your gifts are you longing to share?

    The Hunger To Cultivate Our Gift’s Opposite

    Here’s an interesting one. This is the third gift and that is your gift’s cultivation of its opposite or your cultivation of your gift’s opposite. What do I mean by that? In order for our gifts to have legs in the world, we need to develop their complementary opposite quality inside us. Our tenderness needs bravery if we’re going to ever share it with the world. If we’re visionaries and dreamers, we need to cultivate practicality for our creations to come to life. Practical people need to cultivate their dreamer self in order to create beauty in their lives. A generous person needs to cultivate his, her or their “no”. Really on some level, most of us would just kind of rather not do that work because it’s a hard uphill battle to cultivate the opposite quality of your dominant gifts but when you do it, something magnificent happens.

    As long as we’re alive, our Core Gifts are going to be waiting for us to love them and accept them.CLICK TO TWEETYou feel your self-respect growing. When we do that, we feel more solid, more self-confident and we like ourselves more. It’s that feeling of mastery which feels so good and is so central to a life that works. We feel more like adults, but we maintain the kid inside us as well. Our core gift properties will always probably remain dominant, and that’s fine because perfection isn’t the goal, a rich life where we can take care of ourselves is. To help our gifts mature in the world, we need to help cultivate their opposite, so that we can use them more wisely. This is something really interesting.

    The less you’ve cultivated the opposite quality to your gifts, the more you’re going to be sexually and romantically attracted to people who carry that opposite quality in an extreme and not so great way. For example, somebody who’s really generous of spirit but can’t say no, is going to tend to be attracted to someone who is great at taking, but not so great at giving back. The more we cultivate these complementary qualities in ourselves, the more we’ll find ourselves attracted to people who appreciate our gifts and won’t take advantage of us.

    The Hunger For Discipline And Development

    Something else our Core Gifts hunger for is discipline and development. Our Core Gifts long to be respected enough, to be cultivated and developed. They hunger to test themselves to push past fears and obstacles and obstacle illusions. Just like a gifted child hungers to have her gift seen and acknowledged, our gifts hunger for that as well. They hunger for a mentor who honors them and gets them. They hunger for people who delight in their flights of excess, who shelter their vulnerability, and who send them out into the world to create and be shared. Creating that sense of inner-discipline is a rare accomplishment, and it takes time and effort. This is a poem that I really love by the great abstract painter Arthur G. Dove. “We have not yet made shoes that fit like sand nor clothes that fit like water nor thoughts that fit like air. There is much to be done.”

    Our gifts aren’t stagnant. They really long to take us somewhere. They compel us to take a risk, to turn the next corner, to meet the next enemy, to devour our next limitation. They’re hungry for that. When we learn to call them gifts instead of imperfections, then they find freedom from that kind of crippling carefulness that we can treat them with when we’re timid and afraid. That’s when they become joyously, ferociously hungry for the next new learning, and that’s when life becomes truly exciting. I want to say something else about this too is that our Core Gifts have a quality of joyful excess. Not all Core Gifts, but many of them do. When we’re in touch with our Core Gifts, we get silly, we get ridiculous, we get playful, we get sensual, we get creative, we laugh, we cry.

    The Hunger For Connectedness With The World

    There’s a quality of bigness and vibrancy and a kind of enthusiastic excess that is just such a central part of one of the things that our gifts need, just one, but one of the things that our gifts need in the world. Now, I want to talk about the final hunger that our Core Gifts have. These hungers all include connectedness with the world, connectedness with people who treasure them, who can play with them, whose gifts we can cultivate. I think that’s kind of assumed in all the things I’m saying, that hunger for living in connection with others in the world.

    DDP 91 | Core Gifts
    Core Gifts: Our gifts aren’t stagnant. They long to take us somewhere and compel us to take risks.

    This last one which is greatness, your Core Gifts hunger for greatness, but just like we’re rethinking the meaning of gifts, let’s also rethink the meaning of greatness. Greatness is not necessarily fame or success. It’s really something much more humbling, and kind of much more exalted, and much more challenging. As we feed these hungers of our Core Gifts, we find ourselves touching the hem of some kind of felt greatness. One that might not even have words. We sense that we’re closer to some unknown, unnamed kind of native land with a really big open sky, that’s so broad, that we may never fully encompass it, but maybe we’ve been homesick for that greatness our entire lives.

    I think that our love of fame is a kind of cheapened expression for this hunger for personal greatness. I know for me, sometimes when I’m with my family, when I’m with the people I love, I’m hit by a quiet happiness that’s so strong that it almost burns. It feels huge and kind of heart swelling but so simple. That’s the greatest greatness to me. What are the greatnesses that your gifts yearn for? Take a moment to think about that and answer it for yourself.

    The Buddhists teach that we have seeds of suffering and seeds of joy inside us, and they never go away, they remain latent. What determines our life is the seeds that we water and the seeds that we allow to remain latent. When you water the seeds of your Core Gifts, your life blossoms and your intimacy life blossoms, and your ability to hold and cherish the tenderness and beauty of intimacy grows and increases and expands. I encourage all of you if you want to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click on Ask Ken, share with me your experiences of trying these exercises, of feeding these great hungers of your great Core Gifts and let me know how that goes. Let the community of other listeners learn about how that goes. Thank you so much for listening and blessings in your journey to feed the powerful hungers of your innate Core Gifts. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast in two weeks.

  • How To Experience Sexual Healing While You’re Still Single: Sex Therapist Mike Moran [EP090]
    Right now, while you’re single, you can give yourself the gift of sexual healing!  During this time, you can heal trauma, discover your own inner sexual language, and learn to honor your body and sexuality in deeper ways than ever before. Join me as I interview Mike Moran, an inspired, compassionate, internationally renowned sex therapist, and the Founder and Director of the Center for Relational Fulfillment.

    Table of Contents

    How To Experience Sexual Healing While You’re Still Single: Sex Therapist Mike Moran

    A Powerful Interview With Sex Therapist Mike Moran

    How can we experience life-changing, powerful sexual healing while we’re single? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast as I interview sex therapist, Mike Moran.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, the Cofounder of the meeting site – DeeperDating.com, and of course, the host of this show. I’m excited today because I am interviewing a dear friend who is also a brilliant sex therapist. Mike Moran is going to be talking to us about how we can experience and create sexual healing before we’re in a relationship. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest skills I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and meaningful life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you can get transcripts of each of these episodes, including this one. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful thank you if you subscribed and left me a review on iTunes or elsewhere. Thank you so much for that. Without any further ado, I want to introduce my dear friend and  deeply respected colleague, Mike Moran.

    Let me tell you a little bit about Mike, why I’m excited to have him on this show. Mike is an LCSW and a psychotherapist, a certified EFT couples’ therapist and supervisor, a certified sex therapist, and a certified inner bonding facilitator based in New York, where he specializes at the intersection of relational and sexual challenges. He’s the Founder and Director of The Center for Relational Fulfillment, and he’s on the board of directors of the New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy.

    Mike also presents internationally training therapists on sexual issues in EFT, couples therapy, and he’s also taught graduate courses in marriage and family therapy, and LGBTQ practice at Rutgers University. He offers weekend workshops to couples. Mike says that he views erotic energy as chi, meaning life force or creative vitality, and loves helping people remove the barriers to creating authentic, passionate connection emotionally and sexually. You can learn more about his work by going to FulfilledCouples.com. I know Mike for decades. We’ve worked together many times, and you will get this quality of goodness, decency, intelligence, clarity, integrity, and smarts that he emanates, which is why it’s such a joy for me to have him on the show. Welcome, Mike.

    Thank you, Ken. Thank you for that introduction. I feel all warm inside.

    It’s all true about you. I am so glad to have you here because this is such an important topic that doesn’t get talked about enough, and single people who are not yet in a relationship don’t know the tools that are available to them to grow in their sexuality and their sexual healing while they’re dating, and before they’re in the committed relationship that they’re searching for. The way I would love to start is with you telling us anything about your story and what led you here.

    Sure. I think on a fundamental level, sex, erotic energy has always been very important to me. I am a sexual person. I honor that energy, and I feel like it’s been an integral component to my own healing. I was born with a birth defect that impacted my sex life. I was in sex therapy as a single gay young man in my twenties, and it changed my life. That awakened me to the power of sexual energy, and how if we do our work, it can enlighten us. As I say in my bio, I think of erotic energy, sexual energy as chi, as life force. For so many of us, that energy has been dampened. It’s been tainted by many things, so I help people. I help folks liberate that.

    Trauma occurs in relationships. It is also healed in relationships.CLICK TO TWEETThat is beautiful and powerful. Can you tell us more about how you do that? For our listeners as well, what’s the journey that they can take as they learn from you, as we speak?

    Toxic Beliefs

    I’ve worked with many people over the years. Straight, gay, transgender, gender fluid, who have recognized in themselves that they sense that this wonderful energy, this wonderful life force that lives within them has been tainted, and has been dampened  down. We go on a journey together to learn about how their sexuality, how their sexual energy, their Eros, emerged in their body. How it lives in their body, how it came of being, and then how it lives in their body now, and how the myths, the messages. In our culture, I don’t care if you’re straight, gay, what have you. The culture at large, mainstream culture can do a real number on us. It’s like toxins. We ingest these negative beliefs and messages and myths about sex that can do a number on us and that can hijack our capacity to let that energy flow in us. That’s one of the questions I ask the folks that I work with, “What toxins have you swallowed in the culture at large, in your family culture? What lives within you that, perhaps, you and I can help release, get that poison out of there?”

    That is beautiful and powerful. Let’s have a moment so that all of the audience could think about this. Maybe you even want to take out a paper and pen, or maybe you’re walking or driving and you want to pause this and think about it, but this is a powerful question. You’re saying, Mike, it’s the very first question, it’s where you start on this journey. Let’s all do this for a minute. Let’s sit with this question that Mike asked. Mike, can I ask you to ask it once more, and then we’ll give people a minute to think or to pause, and reflect on it?

    Sure, of course. What toxins have you swallowed that are living in your body from the culture at large, from your family, from your friends? What lives in your body that isn’t authentically you? What messages, what poisons do you need to release to come to embrace a healthy, loving, powerful model of sexuality?

    Beautiful. Here’s something I want to say that I’m going to ask you to address in a minute, Mike, which is for those listeners who have experienced real sexual trauma, this could be a very triggering question. Feel free to answer this in a brief and general way and not to dive in, to be aware of what triggers you. To take care of yourself in the process of answering this question, you might want to answer it on a very broad level. Stand as far away from the trauma as you need to, to be able to look at it, even if it’s from ten miles back and getting a kind of a safe view of it. I wanted to put that in for people who’ve experienced trauma because it’s a rich and important question we all should be able to ask.

    It doesn’t have words. It’s a feeling of shame that I feel goes deep inside my being kind of to the point of curling my toes and my fingers. It’s a sense of shame and it’s a deep belief. Goodness is important to me, and it’s a deeply imprinted belief that sex and goodness are antithetical. That’s a myth that I’ve spent my life working to deal with. I wanted to share mine because it’s such a beautiful question and I wanted to kind of model a little bit of answering that question.

    That’s beautiful, Ken. I’ve worked a lot with shame as I’m sure you have. Personally, and in my work with folks, shame is a big one. Isn’t it? It can hijack our ability to own our truth in our lives. It can just shut us down, and what’s the underbelly of that? What’s going on there? What have we taken in that we haven’t released yet? That is not us, but it’s in us.

    Well said. Asking this question and articulating even more fully, what the words are to that shame? Would that be the next step?

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: In mainstream culture, we ingest negative beliefs and myths about sex that hijack our capacity to let the sexual energy flow in us.

     

    Absolutely, to slow things down. You weren’t born with that shame inside you. Something happened there and it came of being. What happened there? What’s the story of how shame began to take over your experience of your sexuality, if indeed that’s occurring?

    Healing Sexual Trauma

    I know there are more questions, Mike, and I have a choice point question for you. What this is bringing up for me, as all the people who are listening, who have experienced sexual trauma and violation? I think I would like to pause and hear any insights because this is huge. It was one of the questions I was going to ask you. If you could address for folks, those of us who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual trauma and have the deep trauma reverberations inside our being, how do people in that situation? Do you have any thoughts you want to share about the healing journey around that?

    I was glad that you added that, Ken, because I’ve worked a lot with sexual trauma. I can talk about a case with a person I’m working with right now. The first thing I would say with this is in order for us to open to our trauma, we have to feel safe enough to do that. If you’re working on your own and beginning to open that box, pay attention to what’s happening for you, pay attention to your body. Sometimes, memories have been kind of stored in there and then they start to emerge. I’ve worked with folks where that’s been the case. If you find yourself feeling that your trauma has limited you and you want to do the work of washing it out, go slow and be gentle.

    As you open to what happened, learn about how, then how you respond to what happened. I’ll tell you why. I worked with a woman who had been date-raped in college. It was interesting. After it happened, she repressed the whole thing. She pushed it down. She forgot about it. She was pretty promiscuous in college afterward, and we wondered if that was a component, if the trauma was playing out on some level. Anyway, it reemerged. After she got married, she had had a satisfying sex life with her partner, but about a year into the marriage, all the trauma came up in front and center, and her body completely shut down. I worked with her for about a year when I’d had the partner come in sometimes. She had an awesome husband. I loved this guy. He was great, but the key was helping her open to that she’s in control, that she’s the one, that she gets to decide about her body. She holds the reigns and nobody else holds the reins around her sexuality. It was a very healing work.

    Since safety is the first order of business for many people working on trauma, it is good to get help, right?

    Absolutely, especially with trauma because it’s overwhelming. Remember, trauma occurs in a relationship, trauma is healed in a relationship. I encourage folks who have had to deal with that to get help.

    Here’s another question. This is not in any way to discount the importance of therapy and doing trauma work, but if trauma can be healed through relationship, how can trauma be healed through your relationship with yourself? Let’s say you’re a single person. You’re not having sex. Maybe you’re having sex occasionally with people that you date. Maybe you’re having recreational sex. Maybe you’re just masturbating and wanting to do your healing work in that. Could you share thoughts in addition to, or on the side, even instead of, therapy, what are ways that people can heal sexual trauma and sexual wounding in their relationship with themselves before they are in a partnership?

    It’s a good question. I relate to it. I think I did a lot of my healing as a single person.

    Own your disabilities from a place of empowerment instead of shame.CLICK TO TWEETI have talked a lot about being in a support group for chronically single psychotherapists, and Mike was one of my support group members. We were in this together.

    We were.

    It was very healing for us.

    I loved that group. I would say, the first step, if you’re going to work on this on your own is do the work on every level. There’s the mind. That’s what we talked about the myths, the messages, do that work, and understand how it lives in your body from an insight perspective. Also, get to know your body. If you had trauma, how does the trauma impact your relationship to your body? How do you feel about your body? I’m working with a gentleman right now who’s had major trauma. I gave him an exercise, “Just lay naked on your bed and notice sensations of what’s happening. Just slow down.” A lot emerged for him because he had never thought to do that before. I would encourage you to slow things down and get to know what goes on inside your head, what goes on inside your body, what’s your relationship to your body? Do your best to keep a deep sense of curiosity,  just noticing it all.

    What a powerful, beautiful, and simple exercise for reflection.

    It can be very powerful. The other thing that I encourage you to do is all of us have what we call an erotic blueprint. All of us have our own unique algorithm that allows our sensual sexual energy to come alive. There’s more direct stimulation. There’s the senses, our  sensuality, and then there’s what we call psychogenic, which is thoughts, feelings, fantasies, what have you. Do some exploration around “what’s your erotic blueprint? How does your sexual energy begin to hum? I ask folks, “How does your erotic engine get turned on and  humming? What happens there?” Get deeply curious because we’re all a little different in that place.

    That’s wonderful. That’s something I talk about too in my book, like different components of that are what moves you in sex. What emotionally moves you? What makes you feel safe, and what turns you on, and holding all of those together is. that’s the rich place. That’s the wonderful place. I want to share, Mike, the genesis of this episode. You and I were in a cafe together maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I don’t know if you remember this, but I remember it so vividly. We were sitting there drinking our ice coffee together, and I asked you, “In your work as a sex therapist at this point,what’s exciting you the most?” What you said was beautiful and powerful to me. I would like you to speak about that a little bit and I’ll say what that was. This is what you said to me.

    Tell me because I don’t remember.

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: All of us have our own unique algorithm that allows our sexuality to come alive.

     

    I will tell you and it was awesome. It opened a whole new vista of pathways to healing and a possibility. This is what you said, “This is what interests me. No matter how traumatized someone might be that I am working with, there’s a zone that they can go into where they can be sexual and feel good inside and feel unblocked and unfettered. There’s circuitry that they can go into where things work for them, even if they’ve been traumatized. Even if a great amount of the time they can’t do that, there are times when it’s smooth sailing. They are just in alignment with themselves. I’m fascinated by what it is that allows that to happen.”

    What it is that allows them to drop into that groove where they can celebrate their sexuality in such a satisfying way.

    Tell us what you have learned about what helps people, no matter what, be able to drop into that groove.

    I think a real component is the yearning to do it, the motivation to do it, the persistence to keep learning about, what are the barriers to you claiming your unique, beautiful version to your sexual energy? I’ve worked with folks with all kinds of fetishes. For so many of us that grow up in a culture that denigrates anything that is “other”, it shuts us down before we even know that we’re shutting it down. I’ve worked with many of the fetishes, the Adult Diaper community. I’ve worked with folks were in Puppy Play, which is your erotic energy comes alive through primarily portraying an animal, what have you. The human experience, the mind, the nervous system, all of it is so rich.

    I think with that, those of us who are willing to move beyond the confines of this world that we live in, that tells us that we’re not allowed to be ourselves in whatever’s going on in there, those of us who have the chutzpah to move beyond that, I think that’s the impetus to be able to link into that group. Can you allow yourself to be your erotic self ,in all its glory, whatever that is, however that begins to come alive within you? I think that’s the underbelly of it all. Many people, including myself, have real feelings about claiming that truth and that borrows back to the myth, the messages, the stuff that we’ve taken in that we have to move, we have to release, and we have to throw and vomit out.

    This is great because this is work that everyone, no matter where they are in the spectrum of single to committed couple hood can do. Every one of us can do this, and if you do it now before you’re in a relationship, it will save you a great deal of grief and allow you a great deal more of happiness. This is a wonderful time to be doing that work. Mike, the first thing you talked about so richly was naming the myths that we’ve swallowed our sexual freedom that block us from being who we can be sexually. Now you’ve talked about naming your algorithm, acknowledging what brings you to the place where your heart is alive, your Eros is alive, and you’re turned on and your engine is humming, and I love that. Can you frame that for the audience as a question that we can all sit with for a moment?

    Sure. Let me put it this way, which borrows back to Jack Morin’s work, which is amazing. Think about it this way. Let’s say you’re not turned on at all. You’re not feeling erotic at all, but you would like to be. What are the thoughts, feelings, images, and fantasies? What’s all that you know would be the best bet to help you come alive there, to help your erotic portal open and for you to move into that altered state of Eros coming alive in you? What are all the factors that come into play there? What is it about those qualities? What is it about those that make it so inviting, that make it so enticing? Let’s ponder that for a moment.

    That is beautiful. It is such rich, wonderful stuff. Thank you, Mike. This is great.

    We heal through compassion, not judgment.CLICK TO TWEETYou’re very welcome.

    Was there more you wanted to say there, or should I jump to my next question?

    I think we’re good. Keep jumping, Ken.

    I want to ask about, and this is like a huge range. I’m going to say them all in this one question, but feel free to separate them. What about people who have shame about organic conditions of any sort, who are single and feel scared of entering into a relationship or even the dating world because of shame around disabilities, things in their sexual anatomy, scarring, STDs like herpes, any of these kinds of things that could make people feel, “I know this takes me out of the game?”

    You’re talking my language because I have a birth defect. This is exactly what my journey was and I value the sexual energy that I did this work. I think the key with that is to do your best to let go of seeing your disability, your scarring, your STD, your herpes. Do your best to let go of framing it as this is my illness, this is where I’m damaged, this is my defectiveness. Do your best to soften the gaze and try to see it through the lens of, “This is the body that I was meant to explore, that I was meant to have on this journey of embracing my sexual truth.” In fact, this was part of it. Try to see it as a component of your journey. Try to shift the lens from it being a deficit to more of an attribute of your unique journey.

    Did you do that, Mike?

    I have done that. I have crossed the bridge in that capacity and it’s been very powerful, but it’s hard. It’s not a one conversation thing. That’s a burner.

    I just want to say something about this journey concept because I guess, when we look at ourselves and our defects, whatever they are, are glaring, obvious, and embarrassing. We feel like, “How would anyone be turned on to me?” Maybe we even feel like, “I wouldn’t be turned on to me,” and all of these thoughts that are kind of crushing. The question you asked was not as simple as, “how were these parts of me just fine, just beautiful? How is this actually part of my authentic sexual journey of claiming my sexuality? That’s a shift and that’s very profound, and thank you so much for sharing something so personal with us because then everyone who’s dealing with that can say, “He knows what he’s talking about. He’s been through it.”

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: No matter how traumatized someone might be, there’s a zone where they can be sexual and feel good inside, unblocked and unfettered.

     

    It’s developing the capacity to own it but from a place of empowerment versus a place of shame and trying to cover it up, trying to pretend that it’s not there, or foreclosing on your dating or sexual journey because you can’t imagine. You are giving into fear versus claiming it as a component of your journey, of your life that is meant to be there for you to learn from. Ultimately, I see all of life as a classroom. It’s all a classroom and we all have to embrace what we’ve got and what we’ve been given.

    Tips For The Chronically Single

    Mike, this is so beautiful, so rich and I have some more questions for you.

    Sure.

    What about people who’ve been chronically single for a long time and want to get out into the dating world, and are just afraid and feel rusty with dating?

    Ken, you shared. We were in our chronically single therapist group. I think what I would say with that, where I come from that, I think about how I tortured myself about that. I labeled myself. I used it as an identity, “I’m chronically single,” and I’ve been partnered now for thirteen years. I look back at the young man. I used that label to torture myself. I think the first step is, so you’ve been single for a long time. That’s all it means; you’ve been single for a long time. It doesn’t mean you’re defective. It doesn’t mean you’re broken. It doesn’t mean that nobody’s ever going to want to date you.

    All it means is that you’ve been single for a long time. That’s all it means. Don’t take that like Ken and I did and run with that and torture yourself with it. That’s all it is. It’s just data. It’s information. You’ve been single for a long time. What’s your next step toward taking a risk and getting up there again? If you want to internet date, great. If you don’t, great. If you want to take a class, I had a client, who met her partner in an Italian class. She took an Italian class and ended up meeting her partner. What’s your next step? Seeing it through the lens of this, I keep coming back to this word, journey.

    Do your best not to focus on this destination of, “Where is my partner?” See it as a journey of moving toward this person. I remember and it is true, it’s such a cliche when they talk about it, it comes out of nowhere, what have you, but it is true. When I met my partner, I met my partner at  Big Apple Ranch, which is a gay square dance in the middle of Manhattan. I remember the night so well because it was all I could do not to cancel. If I hadn’t promised my friend to meet him at this thing, I would never have gone. I remember getting into the shower and being like, “Why am I going to this thing?” I don’t even like country music. I just was not there, but I showed up and my partner was there and I’ve been with him for thirteen years. You just don’t know. You just have to keep taking the next step and do your best to not frame it from a negative place.

    Mike, I’m smiling because I quote you all the time in my classes and my courses without mentioning who you are. This is another thing that relates to that because when you were searching, or maybe it was when you first met Steve, and I said to you, “What are you doing now that’s different?” You said, “Ken, I’ll tell you what I’m doing. I get home from work and the last thing I want to do in the world is to take a shower and get dressed and go out.” It literally makes me feel sick to my stomach, but I know that if I don’t do that and go to events where there are spiritual gay men, I will never find my partner, and I quote you on that all the time.

    Sexual energy is powerful. It’s beautiful energy. It’s healing energy. It’s vitality. It’s an awesome part of living on this planet.CLICK TO TWEETIt is because that’s exactly what happened when I met Steve. I’m telling you; I remember getting into the shower like I can’t breathe. I’m dragging my butt up the Seventh Avenue. I lived in the West Village at the time. I think I remember that walk. I was dragging myself into that building, but it’s true, we have to get in the ring, don’t we?

    We have to get in the ring and the ring also includes doing the rich sexual questioning and mining of treasures that you are describing. I have another question for you. I want to talk about the whole issue of hooking up. This is a show for people who are into the conscious search for love so we don’t talk that much about hooking up. I think many people here don’t do that. I think that there are also many people who do that and wonder how they feel about it, and wonder if it’s a good thing to do. I would like us to talk for a few minutes about this issue of this conscious journey of healing. If your commitment is toward healing, and you’re single and you want sex, how to hold this issue of hooking up? I would love to hear any of your thoughts.

    Firstly, I want to preface this by saying, I’m a sex-positive sex therapist. What I mean by that is, if the sex is consensual, respectful, and safe and everybody in the room, regardless of how many people are in the room, are having pleasure, if everyone is having pleasure, then rock and roll. I don’t judge any of that. Now, that said, if you’re recognizing that who you are in that context, your behavior, what you’re doing, if you are starting to get those inner promptings of, “This is not really reflective of my deepest truth. This is not reflective of who I want to be. This is not my wisest self that’s doing that.” You’re wanting to deepen into, “What is my wisest self with respect to the challenging conundrum of being a sexual being?”

    Some of us have very high sex drives, and being single and needing that release and needing that outlet. Trust me, I very much empathize with that. That said, if you’re feeling like, “This is not who I want to be here,” do some exploration. What is the part of you that’s doing the hooking up? What is that part wanting? What’s going on there? Do your best to open to compassion. We heal through compassion, not judgment. Do your best to soften the gaze, let the inner critical wounded part of you ask him or her to step outside for a moment and do some compassionate learning about, “What’s happening in this place? What’s going on?”

    There’s the part that is doing something here. There’s the part that is acting in a way that’s not in alignment with who you want to be, and so you want to get curious, partner with this part of you. Learn about what’s going on there. It may feel better to hook up and to engage in casual sex in a way that ultimately doesn’t feel right to you, but maybe it’s serving you because it’s helping you not feel more vulnerable feelings. Maybe it’s helping you to distract yourself from feelings that otherwise would be knocking on your door. What I say with that is to get curious, slow down, and learn about it. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. There are always good reasons for why this stuff plays out the way it does.

    Beautiful. Thank you, Mike. I agree with you. It’s important that even when we are acting in ways that might be not great for us sexually, that we still hold the beauty of our sexuality and remember that first and primarily. That’s wonderful. Mike, you’ve shared so many rich, wonderful things. One thing that I’ve appreciated is you have articulated all of these kinds of thorny and important and highly charged issues as a journey that we can be kind to ourselves around and curious and exploratory, which is what I love about your work and why I so wanted to have you on the show.

    I’m glad you picked up on that, Ken. It’s a fundamental tenet of how I work with folks and I help them open to their journey through the eyes of compassion, not judgment.

    You have been through that journey and we are all on that journey together.

    DDP 90 | Sexual Healing
    Sexual Healing: When you’re single for a long time, it means you’re single and nothing else. Don’t torture yourself by thinking you’re defective.

     

    We are, indeed.

    Mike, we’re moving toward closing now and in a minute, I’m going to ask you to talk about how people could get in touch with you and reach out and find out more about your work and take part in it if they’re moved to do that, but first, are there any last closing words that you want to share with this community?

    This borrows back to what we touched on earlier in our conversation, but I think what I want to emphasize is erotic energy and sexual energy are powerful. It’s a beautiful energy. It’s healing energy, it’s a vitality, it’s aliveness , it’s such an awesome part of living on this planet. As we all well know, living on this planet can be challenging, but it’s like anything. It can be used in the service of the best parts of ourselves or it could be used in the service of these wounded parts. I think the key is to honor the energy, honor how powerful it is, honor its role in your life because, of course, that looks different for everybody. Respect it because it’s a beautiful part of living, in my opinion.

    Mike, that’s wonderful. I just want to acknowledge you and all the other folks in the world who are brave adventurers in exploring sexual healing because it’s still is so taboo and limited in this world and in this country. This is a statement of gratitude for all the people working on sex and sexuality in the world, and to you in particular. For everyone who wants to explore this more fully, some of the things that Mike talked about, who want to learn from him, hear more about what he’s doing, what he believes in, what he’s studying, what he’s teaching, how can people find out everything about you, Mike?

    Just go to my website, it’s www.FulfilledCouples.com, and if you want to email me directly, my email is [email protected]. That’s the easiest way.

    Mike, I can’t thank you enough for your years of loyal and wonderful friendship, for the work that you’re doing in the world, and for sharing this with us.

    Likewise, Ken. I remember us doing the retreats back in the day where I would do the music and we’ve had a rich journey together.

    It’s true. Mike is a musician and a songwriter, by the way, as well. Mike, thank you. Thank you everybody for listening. You can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to sign up for my mailing list. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Just a reminder that at this point, I’m only doing episodes every two weeks for the time being, so see you then and thank you so much. Thank you, Mike, once again.

    Thanks, Ken.

  • Trump, Coronavirus, And The Greatest Lesson Of Love [EP089]
    Toxic relationships affect our lives in the most profound ways. They can be compelling beyond belief – and over time the damage they cause is profound. This same dynamic is playing out on the world stage: In the case of coronavirus we have a breathtaking view into the nature of narcissism – and it’s costing us countless lives. The issue isn’t primarily about policy or politics – it’s about character. And our country has married someone who cannot take care of us.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    Trump, Coronavirus, And The Greatest Lesson Of Love

    Acknowledging The Devastating Effects Of A Toxic Relationship 

    The first and greatest lesson of love relationships is being played out now in our country around Coronavirus in the current administration. It’s being played out in so many of our lives. Stay tuned to this episode to learn what that lesson is and what we can learn from what’s happening now in our country.

    I’m Ken page. I’m a psychotherapist author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, the Cofounder of the dating site, DeeperDating.com, and the host of this show. I’m going to talk about the first great lesson of intimacy and how that plays out in so many of our lives and how it’s playing out in our country, around Coronavirus, and the current administration. This week and every week, although I’m now doing these podcasts every two weeks for the time being, I will share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest and richest skills of our lives.

    If you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating path to finding intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you can get a number of free gifts and learn more about these ideas and how to use them. There are also transcripts of every episode of this podcast. Also, I want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help.

    Finally, if you like what you hear here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. The reviews that I get are very beautiful, very touching, very important, and also let other people know about this show. Thank you so much for that. Now, we’re going to jump in.

    In my work and in my life, the place where I have seen and experienced the greatest and most intractable pain has been around the compelling power of unhealthy toxic relationships. When you choose someone who is not safe, whose character is not good, and it’s so hard because they have such great promises that they make to you, or because they almost love you, or because they’re so sexy or they have so much to offer, it’s an attraction of deprivation. These kinds of attractions are some of the most intractable issues that I have seen. I feel like the thing that I see that stops people, apart from the lack of wiser information about intimacy, the thing that causes the most pain and blocks people the most is the addiction to the “stuckness” with unhealthy, toxic relationships.

    I think that this is happening in our country and we can see it with what’s going on with the way that we as a country have addressed Coronavirus and how Trump and his administration have actually led us into tremendous, tremendous pain and suffering and loss. Similar to what happens when we decide to enter into relationships with toxic people. This is like a cautionary tale. By looking at what’s happening in our country, we can understand the single-most painful dynamic that happens in romantic relationships and the single most important lesson.

    The inner world of a narcissist is a rancid place, and the narcissist wants to drag other people into that space.CLICK TO TWEET

    Married To A Narcissist

    By looking at these personal relationships, we can understand more what seems to be happening at this time in our country. I think that on both counts, this is pressing and urgent, and I have a lot to say. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a kind of cautionary tale, but it’s also going to be filled with hope because when we can see a hypnosis for what it is, we can break free from a toxic relationship. I want to say, this is not about Trump’s policies.

    This is not about being a Democrat or being a Republican. It’s about character. What’s being acted out in the state of our country and in the world is that many Americans have fallen in love with a profound narcissist. The sign there, the key great difficulty, is the inability to de-center from what you want and the importance of how you’re perceived, and to be able to actually look at the world with great empathy.

    I think it would be really hard to disagree that this is an area where Donald Trump is profoundly weak, and where that weakness, specifically in regard to Coronavirus, has led to death, death of loved ones, more deaths to follow of our precious loved ones because Coronavirus is not something that Trump wants to admit to or deal with because it doesn’t make him look good. The description of this kind of narcissism was beautifully described by E.B. Johnson in an article in Medium called How your personality changes after surviving narcissistic abuse.

    “Narcissistic abuse,” the author says, or a toxic relationship, I add in, “occurs through verbal abuse, emotional manipulation, and even all-out campaigns of fear, threats, and terror. A narcissist is unable to see the inherent value in anyone else because they’re only able to see their needs, desires, and perspectives.” Let’s talk about this on a personal level. How many of us have been in relationships with a narcissist?

    How many of us have been in a toxic relationship with someone who couldn’t de-center from their own needs and would hurt us and hurt others because of their inability to choose compassion over self-gratification? How many people do you know now that are in those situations? How many times have you had loved ones in situations of relationships with people where you knew that this was so bad for them and these otherwise really intelligent people when you tried to show them the facts, their eyes would kind of glaze over?

    They would have rationalizations; they would have excuses. How many times have we done that? How to capture the degree of pain and lost years and suffering, not to mention abuse, not to mention abuse of our children, not to mention the loss of friendships and other relationships, because the narcissist feels threatened by those other connections and other alliances, and pushes us to dissolve them, from the subtlest level to the grossest level?

    DDP 89 | Toxic Relationships
    Toxic Relationships: A narcissist is unable to see the inherent value in anyone else because they’re only able to see their needs, desires, and perspectives.

     

    Most of us have seen in deep and powerful ways, the devastating effects of a toxic relationship, and the kind of hypnosis occurs where we don’t want to admit that. Coronavirus is bad, for Trump and how he looks at his success. He prefers that it doesn’t exist. Testing makes the numbers look bigger, so let’s slow it down. If children don’t go back to school, that’s going to hurt our economy. It’s going to hurt the optics of how our country looks, and how I look, and whether or not I’ll get re-elected.

    Let’s make sure that no matter what, we send them to school, and we’ll pull funding of any school that doesn’t support that. Just a little bit of room for the devastating reality of those children, of those immune-compromised or vulnerable teachers, of the families that love these people. Just another few examples of this so that we could see just kind of the most important political, and personal lesson, which is the devastating hypnosis of toxic relationships and how easy it is to succumb to them. Few things, for example, on January 20th, the first Coronavirus case was reported in the United States and South Korea. Within the first two weeks of that case, South Korea had nationwide testing.

    Two days after that case, Trump said, “It’s all under control.” On February 6th, the World Health Organization distributed a quarter-million tests. We declined those tests. We produced 90 tests and they were faulty. On February 28th, Donald Trump said that Coronavirus is the Democrat’s new hoax. How many of his supporters believed that and didn’t wear masks, didn’t take care of themselves, didn’t protect themselves?

    Trump actually said that wearing a mask could be seen as a political statement against him. The breathtaking degree of narcissism here, and the deaths that that led to need to be faced and need to be embraced. We need to look at ways in which we have allowed ourselves in our own life to say yes to the horrible hypnosis of toxic relationships. Just continuing, on April 4th, he said, “It might be okay to go to work even if you have the Coronavirus.” He said, “Anybody who needs a test, it is there.” Now, this was a complete lie.

    This is kind of the concept of gaslighting, which I’ll get to in a minute, because at that time, 3 of the 100 public laboratories that we have had a working CDC test. Early in March, 1 in 100,000 people in the United States received tests compared to 1 in 342 in South Korea, and analysis of data from healthy metrics and evaluation suggests that countless deaths could have been avoided if Trump supported social distancing and masks simply a few weeks earlier, as he had been warned for months, but he was helpless against that because of character.

    Toxic Hypnosis

    This is such a deep and important thing. I’m going to shift to talking about intimate relationships. Ultimately, when you’re weighing character in one hand and promise in the other, character is going to end up on top. In the long run, character is what’s going to influence everything. I quote Hara Marano, the Advice Columnist for Psychology Today frequently and she says, “There are three Cs in looking for love; character, character, and character.” We are 4% of the world’s population, but in July, we had over 50% of all the Coronavirus cases.

    To keep our country safe, we must have a leader who can step outside of themselves and see the needs of others.CLICK TO TWEETIn July, Trump said, “We have one of the lowest death rates.” But of all the countries in the world, we have the fourth-highest death rate and we’re one of the wealthiest and most industrialized nations in the world. We have an incredible opportunity here to save lives, to save our lives, and to understand the first rule of intimacy is that character is everything. All of us have certainly seen such terrible things happen as we witness our loved ones in toxic relationships. How much pain have each of us experienced seeing that and being helpless?

    Right now, we’re witnessing that in our country today because of Donald Trump’s inability, in his case, narcissism, to understand the validity and worth of anything outside of what he wants and needs and how he is perceived. The country’s being ripped apart. As a country, we are now so hungry to be able to finally address racism in a deeper way. Trump is denying all of that and turning it into an ugly civil war because Coronavirus crosses him, it doesn’t look good, it goes against what he wants to be seen as, and the experience of him feeling like he’s wearing a mask makes him feel weak.

    He’s not interested in what he’s modeling for the country and all of his supporters. He’s just not interested in that. What he’s interested in is how he looks and this is an interesting thing. The inner world of a narcissist crossed is it has rancidity, it’s a rancid place. None of the oxygen that comes with getting outside yourself exists in that inner world. In that space, the narcissist wants to drag other people into that space. Trump, as the most powerful person in many ways on the planet, is trying to drag the entire country into the rancid space of his resentment, insecurity, and rage when it comes to Coronavirus and the reality of this pandemic.

    It is breathtaking to see how many people willingly follow him into that space. That brings me to my second point about this and that is the hypnosis that occurs when you’re in love with, or when stuck in, a toxic relationship. This hypnosis is one of the most powerful things that I have ever witnessed. I will share with you that my dad, who’s a holocaust survivor, said, “I can understand how to turn a population into Nazis. I can understand how to do what Hitler did. Here’s how you do it. You sow fear, and then you create an enemy, and you make that enemy less than you.”

    He does that with all his enemies and that foments hate and creates a degree of danger, violence, resentment, and unrest because there is no modeling of humanity and decency. That hypnosis happens as well for people in toxic relationships. We’ve all seen it. We’ve seen it in our own lives, and we’ve seen it in the lives of people we love. It’s powerful and it’s so intractable and it goes so deep. For example, really smart people don’t wear masks because they feel that it is anti-Trump. The rally in Tulsa, smart people were in that rally. They signed papers saying that they would not hold the administration accountable if they caught the Coronavirus and people died as a result most probably from that rally.

    Then they were pushed together into a tight space so that it would look good for the optics as though there were more people. People did this willingly in the time of a deadly pandemic. This is so rich and so amazing and tells us so much about willingly entering into toxic relationships. I want to say something now about the message of hope, peace, because ultimately for survival, all of us must choose to get away from toxic relationships. For our country’s safety, in the presence of a pandemic, and all of the other crises that happen, we must have a leader, Democrat or Republican, who has compassion, who can step outside themselves and see the needs of others.

    DDP 89 | Toxic Relationships
    Toxic Relationships: It is an act of bravery to open our eyes, douse the hypnosis and say yes to compassion for ourselves and no to the toxic relationship.

     

    Donald Trump is profoundly lacking, is incapable of doing that. That’s why we can directly attribute the deaths of so many people to his refusal of putting the public health above his image and his needs. This is a terrible thing and the loss associated with that. I’m not talking about so many other ways in which this is true. The immigrant children ripped out of their parents’ arms, Black Lives Matter, and his complete refusal to see the worth and validity of that and to face our country’s racism, his support of white supremacists so much here in so many different areas. I’ve written a number of pieces for Psychology Today about this.

    A Time For Hope

    For this episode, I’m speaking mostly about Coronavirus. I do want to say something about hope. The beautiful bravery of changing direction when we see truth, the ability to do what a narcissist cannot do, which is de-center from our own agenda, and open our hearts to the humanity of what’s going on. All of us now have the opportunity to do that on a multitude of levels. We can see how the power of narcissism is playing out in our country and literally leading to death to a country lost, blind, and bewildered because its leadership is not saying we’re directly and wisely going to tackle this pandemic.

    We must get away from this administration’s narcissistic and toxic response to crisis. I’m a Democrat, but this is not about Democrat or Republican. This is about character. This is a message that also applies in our personal lives, for all of us who are stuck in relationships and so many of us know this experience where we are repeatedly, even if it’s not this extreme, even if it’s not at all about what leads to death. The experience of being in a relationship where we don’t feel seen, where we don’t feel cherished, where we don’t have license to be all that we are.

    The damage that that creates, the damage that creates for us, for our children, and for our loved ones. It’s such an act of bravery to open our eyes, to douse the hypnosis, and to face the reality of what’s going on and to say yes to compassion for ourselves, to say yes to compassion for all the people that are being wounded by a narcissist’s toxic, rage, and behaviors. This is a time for hope. This is a time where all of us can say, “We need a leader who cares. We need a leader who is compassionate.”

    We are in the midst of a pandemic. We need to take care of what needs to be taken care of. It’s not something a narcissist can do. I know that this is such a political message, but as a human being in this world, I feel that I must stand up when unnecessary deaths are being caused by narcissism, just as I stand up for the same thing in all of my talks about attractions of deprivation. Even after, God willing, this election, assuming Trump does not win again, because if he does, much more horror, horror born of a lack of compassion, will occur. Even after, even if we don’t have Trump as president again, there will be a period of healing that needs to happen.

    Wounds around race have been ripped up. Racism has been allowed to flourish and to gain fire. This pandemic has gained so much fuel because of Trump and his administration’s refusal to honor the reality of what’s going on. This is hard to refute. There’s a lot of healing that needs to happen. For all of us who have been in a relationship with a narcissist, there’s so much healing that needs to happen even when we get away from that relationship.

    It’s hard and it’s difficult because we’ve allowed such wrong things to happen, to ourselves and to other people, and because we’ve gotten into such a kind of channel of pain and suffering and diminishment of compassion. All of us as a nation are going to have to heal when we make this choice to move away from abuse, to move away from narcissism, in our lives, in our relationship, and in our president. Thank you so much for listening. I know this was a controversial episode, but we must speak the truth when it comes to the wellbeing of those around us. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you in two weeks on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Important Links:

    Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
    Join the Deeper Dating Podcast Community today:
  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP088]
    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts. Today’s subjects include institutionalized racism in online dating, feeling gun-shy about dating after bad experiences, a new boyfriend who sometimes doesn’t text back, and more.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    Your Questions Answered By Ken

    Today’s episode is the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing personal questions about love, sex, and intimacy. You’ll leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, some important revelations about your own love life. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com. I’m excited to be with you here today when I answer your questions about love, romance, and intimacy. This week, and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it alive and if you want to learn more about this approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can get some free gifts there and you can join my mailing list as well. Today, I have gotten some really wonderful questions, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions too.

    I’m thrilled about this. A ton of people wrote questions or recorded questions, and any of you can do that as well by just going to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and then you click on Ask Ken, and you can leave me any question that you want. I’m thrilled about all the different questions, and I think they have some basic themes around communicating about difficult things, but I’m super excited to dive in, in one moment. I just need to tell you one thing, a little bit of news about the podcast, which is, I am, unfortunately, or fortunately going to need to move the podcast to be every two weeks for a period of time instead of every week.

    I’m devoting myself, kind of heart and soul, to this new platform called DeeperDating.com, which is a way to help single people meet in a way that’s respectful, thoughtful, fun, reflective, and kind of follows the values that I really try to teach here of kindness, connection and authenticity. I’m super excited about that. Please visit DeeperDating.com. Join our mailing list. We are starting to have events now, in all different parts of the country we are just beginning to grow, but I’m devoting myself to that. I’m kind of trying to, as they say, “To write is human to edit is divine.”

    Choosing Partners

    I think to do is human and to edit one’s doing is divine and very hard for me as a workaholic, but I am going to be still doing the podcast, but just once every two weeks now, at least for a period of time, as I help DeeperDating.com come into life in the world. Thank you for understanding that. Let me jump right now into the questions. I’m going to answer these a little bit more quickly than I usually do because there are so many questions that I’ve gotten. The first one is from my friend, Maria Elena from Mexico, and Maria Elena asked it’s a wonderful question. She said, “I have a really strong personality and I have been attracted to, and I attract men who also have really strong personalities and characters. These relationships have ended quickly and have not done well. Should I instead be looking for somebody with a gentler nature because I have a really strong personality has an easier lighter personality who can accommodate me so that we’re not kind of butting heads together?”

    That was her question. I’m going to answer this question, but I also just want to encourage, I’d love there to be a kind of crowdsourcing thing, because I think that I can kind of come up with little chunks of wisdom or insight that might be really important and sometimes a really central, and sometimes they’re not as central. In my groups, in my intensives, I’ll share things and then, other people will share things that hit at the heart of things better than I could have. If anything you hear in terms of my answers or anybody else’s question inspires you to give a different response or a different angle, I’d always appreciate that and you can just go to, again, DeeperDatingPodcast.com, click Ask Ken, and share your perspectives. I can try to pass those on where it’s possible to do that. My thought about this is that, if two people with a really strong personality come together, there definitely is room for a particular kind of greater conflict, but I think that if a stronger person and a more passive person come together, there’s also room for more of that difficulty.

    If two people with really strong personalities come together, there definitely is room for a particular kind of greater conflict.CLICK TO TWEETI personally think, ultimately, it’s about the skills of intimacy, more than anything else, because sometimes, really different even conflicting styles can be exciting and can add a sense of life and variety if both partners are willing to learn the other person’s language of being, and style of being. I think It’s more about communication skills. You’ve got a strong opinion, your partner has a strong opinion, how can you both hold that together as the couple that you are and talk about it, work it through and express what’s going on? I think it’s more about communication than particular kind of character styles.

    Although obviously, different character styles are going to create a different recipe for a relationship, but I really do think ultimately, if a person is not abusive, if you are not abusive, that it’s just so much more about learning the kind of like deeper, basic communication skills. Thank you, Maria Elena, for asking that question. Next, Jordan asks a question. Jordan is working on the Deeper Dating book and is in chapter two and that’s fabulous. Those are really rich chapters and has met somebody wonderful. The connection is great, the physical sexual connection is great. She feels comfortable in her own skin with this person more than she ever has since she’s been eighteen years old.

    These are all wonderful things and I just love hearing that. I’m thrilled that you are leading with who you are and you found somebody with whom you can be who you are and she says, the communication is great. Recently though, she has left some texts and not gotten responses to them and that’s really scary because her experience in the past has also been with guys who are cheating on her and who she believes that are in a monogamous relationship with her but in fact, they’re cheating on her. These kinds of like dropped texts are a real sign of that.

    It’s very scary and Jordan feels like she’s going to talk to him about this whole issue of monogamy because that’s what she wants and she just asked for some advice on how to do that. First of all, I just want to say you if are with someone with whom you can communicate and whom you feel so good with those are signs in all probability of deep growth on your part. What I would say in the simplest terms is that you do need to talk to him and you can share that there has been trauma and wounding for you. It’s a funny point that you’re at because Jordan says they’d been on a handful of dates, I figured maybe like 4 maybe 5 dates, something like that.

    Feelings can really be growing deeply at that point, but it’s kind of early to say we are going to absolutely move to monogamy in some cases because some people who might and will be ultimately available, aren’t ready to say that yet, after just that many dates. I think one question there is, is this a shared commitment? Is this something that he believes in, is looking for, and aspires to? Does he feel like that is a direction that he sees this possibly going in so that there’s space for him as well? You can share, and there needs to be room for the fact that this is scary and difficult for you and then continue the conversation from there.

    The Color Of Love

    I think that you might actually become closer as you have that conversation, but I also want to really encourage you because you have trauma there, and kind of a hallmark of trauma is black and white thinking. It’s easy to go to the biggest fears and that’s not something he necessarily needs to be responsible for in the communication. I say, if you have dear friends who honor your commitment to monogamy and are spacious and nonjudgmental, talk to them and get support to help you be able to really talk to him from an open space. I’m excited for you and let us know what happens. Next question or request, Lou left a message and thanked me for the podcast and the work that I’m doing and asked if I would reflect on kind of some of the issues of what it is like for people of color, to face the institutionalized racism that they experienced so often in online dating?

    DDP 88 | Love Advice

    Love Advice: The world surprises us with who we meet. Bravery, expression, and protection of other people are the deepest values of activism. In that way, allow yourself to be surprised.

     

    Thank you so much for this question, Lou. I have a number of thoughts that I want to share. As a white person who has not directly experienced this, but has certainly experienced a lot of other kinds of oppression and prejudice, I’m just going to speak from my heart about some of the things that I’ve seen and I’ve been touched by and I’m aware of. Somehow the impersonality of online dating and the objectification that happens so much in online dating allows people to be more cruel than they would normally be and allows for blatant racism under the guise of, “This is just who I’m sexually attracted to.” Microaggressions direct ugliness. Even though the research shows that there’s more, there are more interracial couples now as a result of how online dating mixes things up and mixes people up and blends worlds in different ways there is also just a huge amount of institutionalized racism.

    There’s very poignant research that shows directly how facing this kind of racism in online dating leads to feelings of low self-worth, depression, and anxiety, which makes perfect sense because the desire for a loving partner and wanting to be included in the world and connected in that way and connected with someone goes so deep. It’s so profound that a shut door in our face an institutionalized shut door in our face, it causes pain on so many different levels. There was a New York Times modern love column called Trying to Feel Love-Worthy (While Working for a Dating App), by Loré Yessuff in July 2020, that was so poignant to me and it speaks to this and I just would love to read just some of the things that she wrote. She describes herself as having this job opportunity of getting to work in customer service for an online dating site.

    She says, “I was a recent college graduate, recovering from a breakup, longing to be with someone who didn’t want to commit to me. It was my first breakup but as a black woman, I was not new to heartache. This pain felt familiar. The symptoms are easy to decipher. It always starts in the throat, hums in the chest, and drops to the lowest point of the belly, sharp, thick burning. The first time I felt it was in second grade on the school bus when two white boys screeched at me saying I was ugly while tugging on my newly plaited braids. I was so shocked that I froze waiting for the mockery to end. Far too many black women are taught that romantic fantasies do not belong to us, that we are never someone’s 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice and that we should feel lucky if we are wanted, which really means that we should feel suspicious.”

    This is a beautiful piece and it continued and it talked about some research that showed that black women are among the least likely the ones, who were going to among those who received the least attention of any category on dating apps. Another group is Asian men. This led me to kind of look into the research on this, and it’s been fascinating and painful to see how institutionalized racism like, for example, race filtering, searching and filtering under race is so prevalent. How some algorithms of dating sites actually assume without being told that people are more interested in people of the same race? Online dating, I believe can be used as a vehicle for healing and communication in some ways, some powerful ways and it can also be used as a tool to harden and further the toxicity of racism.

    Same Sex Relationships

    As someone who’s creating an online dating site, this is something that feels deeply, deeply important for me to be a part of the healing process in that. Please, look forward to an upcoming panel where I’m going to bring together participants, researchers, people of color who use the sites, and just a kind of group of people to really talk about this. I used to do a lot of workshops for a group of a wonderful group called Men of All Colors Together, where people of all different races would get together and it was a place where people could meet romantically, but also could converse and heal. It was just a beautiful, beautiful group and I wish that online dating could actually allow for that kind of healing. I believe that there are ways that it can. Lou, I’m so appreciative of your question and I just want to honor kind of the pain  and the ruefor so many people who experience those closed doors in a place that is so tender and matters so much. The next question was a beautiful question from a woman who is doing the deeper dating process. She says, she’s on stage two in the four stages of this journey, the first stage is a discovery of your core gifts, your kind of deepest sensitivities and passions.

    You’re inner-most self and learning to honor that. The second stage is understanding attraction patterns more deeply, and getting a deeper sense of making choices to only pursue what I call attractions of inspiration versus attractions of deprivation. The third stage is the getting out there in a way where you lead with your authenticity and only choose people who resonate with that and make you feel safe inside. The fourth stage is the rewiring that has to happen when we meet somebody where it’s a healthier relationship. Anyway, this woman says that she’s in stage two and doesn’t feel like so ready to meet people because she’s been in bad relationships before, she’s gay.

    A hallmark of trauma is black and white thinking.CLICK TO TWEETShe met a woman recently who seemed like her type, and she’s noticing that a part of her is feeling like, “I don’t want to lose this opportunity.” Another part is saying, “I don’t want to jump in again. I don’t want to get hurt again. I also don’t know if this woman is a lesbian or if she’s straight. That’s kind of scary too. How do I know what to do? I want to honor this part of me that wants to protect myself and let my growth happen and don’t get lost in relationships again but I also don’t want to lose an opportunity?” This is a fabulous, fabulous question, just some thoughts that I have here are big question, I think are the signs of the person’s actual character.

    One thing is you are going to have to find out like pretty soon, if this person is attracted to women, also. You will need to do that, it’s scary, but you’ll need to do that and that will be a good thing because then you’ll know. You shouldn’t wait too long – so many people wait so long with that, just because of internalized homophobia, shyness, and timidity. I want to encourage you not to do that. The other thing is, I think that you should get to know who this person is and make the decision not based on any abstractions, but based on who she is and how she acts – her character. Is there decency? Is there goodness? Is there kindness? Is there authenticity? Are those things consistent or pretty consistent?

    If the answers to those things are yes, then at least this person could be a friend, but I think that it’s like kind of being in a dark room and not knowing where the furniture is and you don’t want to walk into the room and bang yourself up. I think it’s important to go  in carefully and ask yourself the question again and again, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” Notice the feelings of safety or unsafety that resonate for you and you’ll often know the difference between what’s fear and what’s actually a sense of what doesn’t feel safe. The more you practice this, the more you will know that. Good luck, be brave, and this growing desire to honor yourself, that’s almost coming before anything else. I hear that loud and clear and it’s wonderful.

    A fabulous question from Miriam who said, “I’m an activist and that’s really important to me. That’s very central to my value system and I really feel like I want to be with someone else who is also an activist, is that fear-based or is that just a kind of honoring of who I am? What my values are and what matters to me?” I love this question and it’s actually a question that I’ve heard other times as well and here’s what I would say. You totally have to start out by treasuring this and realizing that being with someone who  is an activist would be wonderful and celebrate that, absolutely. I’m going to make a jump to this, how do you find that online? Because that was another thing she said is, how do you find that? You use filters with sophistication, you figure out the keywords, activism, ecology, Black Lives Matter, anti-racism, homophobia, whatever keywords, like get a whole bunch of them and look for, do searches for people who have those words in their profile. You can also go to Facebook groups and find groups that have lots of members that also share those same values. I say, go for that, treasure it, it’s wonderful and it’s fabulous. I would also say though, that there are different kinds of activism. There are people who are quiet activists, people who you see them be honest, and be kind when it’s really hard, to be honest, and kind, and that’s a kind of activism.

    An Anxious Couple

    I am not saying that to steer you away from knowing that you’d love to be with someone who’s an activist, but I am saying that the world surprises us with who we meet. The basic values of bravery, expression, protection of other people, etc, are really the deepest values of activism. I would say in that way, allow yourself to be surprised. Next, Dinah is 67 and has met a really wonderful guy. She is thrilled. She is very appreciative of this work and she’s so excited because this guy is wonderful and they can really communicate. She’s just so happy about the relationship, but she had a few concerns. One concern is that she has an anxious attachment style, so does he. When he gets kind of anxious, she experiences him as clingy, and then she pulls away, that was one piece, but she said, “We talk about it and that’s what really matters. We kind of like work it through and address it.” That’s what I would say is that’s the key, the question, outside of situations of abuse or unstabilized, serious psychiatric disorders. I think that the ability for a couple to hold differences, difficulties, ambivalence, and talk about it with openness, kindness, and care is the heart and the soul of a great relationship. It sounds like you have that heart and soul of a great relationship.

    What I think is, what I would say is that when you feel the clinginess and you feel that desire to avoid, questions are, how can you take care of yourself? When we feel suffocated or when we feel another person is not kind of able to hold up their own weight and we have a kind of primal fear reaction, or we just want to pull away, it’s often easy to beat ourselves up for that, “I can’t love, I’m not capable of loving. Why am I not more steady in my attraction or connection?” We need first to make space, “I feel kind of like this person is being clingy, what kind of space do I need? How much space do I need so that I could still say close, but feel like I could breathe? What kind of connection do we need now so that I don’t get lost in this? What do I need? What do I think he needs?” The minute we can take the time to ask ourselves those questions, and then you will get answers. You will get ideas and you will get insights if you can hold that dilemma with that kind of respect and gentleness. When you get those insights, then you find a way to share them and you do it in a way that’s kind, in a way that honors you and honors the other person. These are going to be the issues that the two of you if you stay together are going to have forever. What you’re doing is building language bridges between your different styles of being, or in this case, your similar styles of being. That’s my thought there.

    DDP 88 | Love Advice

    Love Advice: A couple’s ability to hold differences, difficulties, and ambivalence and talk about it with openness, kindness, and care is the heart and soul of a great relationship.

     

    Digital Honesty

    The other thing that she asked is she said, “He has some real health concerns. We’re both kind of a little bit older and that’s a risk because I’m really active and I want to live a really rich, good life and that concerns me too.” What I would say about that is, that is such a deeply personal existential question, let the bond keep growing and let it grow, let it grow. As it grows, you will come closer to knowing what your decision is and what’s going to be right for you. That’s so dependent on so many factors, but you just want to know that if it’s not going to work, you didn’t leave out of fear. It sounds like there’s so much good here, it sounds like the preponderance of good is huge in this case. Mostly I would say have fun, including learning to have fun with some of the difficult communication stuff. The next question is from Joanne, and Joanne, thank you for your kind words about my book. Joanne was saying that, that she has been meeting some people and they haven’t been ready to speak on the phone or on video. They’re happy to message. They do  do video with their family, but they’re not ready to do video or phone with her.

    She says, “I don’t mind waiting a few weeks. I don’t even mind necessarily waiting a month, but longer than that, I begin to wonder if they’re being honest with me about who they are.” I would say to you, I agree. I think that’s, you know, over a month of refusing to speak on the phone or on video, using reasons like, “I’ve got difficult things going on, or I’m not feeling well.” Those do sound like excuses to me if we’re talking about over a month. I say, trust your intuition, but speak to the person and be really direct and ask them for greater clarity and tell them that this is uncomfortable for you. You could ask them when they will be ready to do this, or you could say to them, “This is something that at this point I need to be able to do.”

    I think you have a right to, because that’s a really, really long time not to be doing that. Especially, for people who do that regularly with their family. I’d say probably your sense of concern is valid but once again, I guess that’s kind of the message of this episode, speak to them, tell them really what you’re feeling, and then take it from there. Thank you. I still have a number of questions that people have asked that I didn’t get to, and I won’t be able to get to in this episode. I’m not going to wait for my normal four-plus weeks to do my next Q&A. It’s going to be much sooner than that. Those of you who didn’t get your questions answered, I’m going to do my best to do that in the next Q&A episode.

    What I would like to ask you to do now, is to think for a moment since this kind of a theme of talking about the hard stuff has been such a rich theme of this episode, where for you in a relationship, might there be a place where something’s difficult to talk about but could be talked about with the person who is good and decent and listens to you and where there’s that kind of safe relationship. Just take a minute. I think we all have a place where we could say, “I could say something more here. There’s something I haven’t talked about that I feel that’s sitting in my heart.” Of course, those things overall, really do bring us closer, although they may be difficult and they may not just be one single conversation. Take a moment to think about that and I encourage you to give that a shot, do a field trip, an honesty, authenticity field trip, where you get to share that. Again, my apologies to all the people that I didn’t get to yet, I will hopefully get to you pretty soon. Thank you all for listening and I look forward to speaking with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • Enlightened Audacity: The Key To Heart-Filling Intimacy [EP087]
    Enlightened Audacity is perhaps the greatest skill we can learn in love. Enlightened Audacity means being brave enough to present the real version of ourselves (not the airbrushed one) and then taking the time and care to express ourselves in a way that honors the humanity of whomever we’re interacting with. In this episode, you’ll learn the simple, powerful steps required to master this life-changing way of relating.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    Enlightened Audacity: The Key To Heart-Filling Intimacy

    Discovering The Magic Blend Of Authenticity And Compassion

    Enlightened audacity is one of the most exciting, delicious, and powerful intimacy tools that exist. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn this skill, so that you can use it to transform your relationships in powerful and wonderful ways.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m so glad to be here with you. I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating and I’m the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for single people to meet online that’s warm, and fun, and inspiring, and focused on creating healthy, positive relationships. Today, I’m going to talk about enlightened audacity. One of the most wonderful, powerful, and liberating tools I know for anybody who wants deeper intimacy in their lives. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating approach to intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com.

    What Is Enlightened Audacity

    We’re going to jump right in. Enlightened audacity is maybe the greatest skill that we can learn in love, and enlightened audacity is being brave enough to present the authentic version of who you are, not the airbrushed one, and then to take the time and the care to do it in a way that honors the humanity of whomever we’re interacting with. Enlightened audacity starts with kindness to ourselves by feeling our humanity, our ambivalence, whatever it is that we’re feeling and experiencing in our bodies, our hearts, and our minds, even if we don’t know how to handle it, or it scares us, or it confuses us. When we begin with kindness to our humanity, our inner world begins to light up.

    Then we think about expressing whatever it is that we want to express, our needs, our experience, to the other person. The rules in this step are beautifully and simply expressed in the Al-Anon slogan, “Say what you mean. Mean what you say and don’t say it mean.” When we’re authentic like that, it creates honesty waves that enter into the very being of the person we’re talking to. People register that kind of truth. It’s gritty, it’s real, it’s human, and it evokes trust when we do it in kind ways. Everyone is defended against manipulation, but simple truth with the ring of our heart in it passes through the barriers of defensiveness and resistance that the other person has.

    When we begin with kindness to our humanity, our inner world begins to light up.CLICK TO TWEETEvery act of enlightened audacity that you do brings the exhilaration of honesty and the closeness that kindness fosters, and those two together are magnificence. Doing this is a kind of sacred intimacy act that changes our inner state, and it enlivens us, and it makes us radically open to greater intimacy. Enlightened audacity helps us ask for what we need, helps us express appreciation to other people, and to share our authentic selves with the people who deserve it. Also, amazingly, the commitment to live in a state of enlightened audacity turns down the volume on our fear of rejection.

    I want to talk about five different ways to practice enlightened audacity. Some of these might feel really natural to you. You might say, “I’m doing these already.” That’s cause for celebration and some might feel a little harder, a little scarier, a little more raw, a little more of a sense of, “I need to work on that one.” Just as I said, there’s just nothing like the experience of honesty and kindness, and having the ripples of that state met and mirrored by another person. That’s a kind of perfect joy.

    Bravery And Intimacy

    I want to talk about bravery first. I think that bravery is one of the great skills of relationship. It’s one of the great skills of life, and it’s one of the great skills of dating too. For many of us, it’s the biggest fear of all. In the realm of dating, letting somebody know that we’re interested in them, it’s like building a muscle. We get better at it, but it is hard and it’s hard at first. There’s like an intense vulnerability to that and often, it almost feels like we’re weakening ourselves by letting somebody know that we like them, but we’re not weakening ourselves. We are making ourselves vulnerable. Another way to look at that is that we’re being generous. We’re giving the other person a gift, and the sensitivity and the decency of their reaction is going to tell us so much about who they are.

    It takes so much bravery to get out there and meet people. It takes courage to let your family and your friends know that you’re looking to meet someone, and to ask them for help, and it takes courage when we’re stuck in a new relationship or stuck in an old pattern to say, “I need help.” These are acts that change our world. They up us to an entirely different platform than trying to make those changes in our heads. When we interact with the world from this place of enlightened audacity, we kind of change the fabric of our lives.

    ”DDP
    Enlightened Audacity: How the other person responds to our kindness and gentleness tells us worlds about who they are

     

    If you could just take a minute and think about a time that you were honest, really honest with someone, and you did it in a way that was kind and caring, but it was really honest, and how that felt, the scariness of it, but also the love of it by doing it in a way that was kind and caring, and making space. Just remember that feeling of truth and kindness together, how completely awesome that feels. It opens the door to a kind of floodgate of goodness, sexuality, desire, and connectedness when we do that with someone who is a safe person.

    It’s such a risk to do that though. I remember I took a workshop in trapeze work. I remember climbing up this wobbly little ladder and like I got to the top there, and the trapeze came and I had to jump. There was a beautiful, big, strong net underneath me, so I knew I wouldn’t be hurt, but that experience of jumping into space to grab the trapeze was like pure inky terror. It was just pure dark terror. It was pure terror, but then the experience of grabbing it and holding onto it was very exhilarating, even though I fell off in about a minute, but it was still a joy.

    That experience when I think of someone doing trapeze work who really knows what they’re doing, that experience of leaping into space, and someone else coming, and knowing that when you leap into space, their arms are going to catch you. What an amazing experience that is, but when we take the step to be vulnerable, extra vulnerable, scary, truthful vulnerable to someone, it’s like that. It’s like letting go of the trapeze, and when that person catches us, that’s just a grand and wonderful kind of intimacy. It’s a cement of bond and the experience of being with someone who can do that with you is just glorious. That’s the result of enlightened audacity with a safe person.

    Gandhi said a wonderful quote. He said, “Love is the prerogative of the brave,” and it’s so true. It takes true bravery to share who we really are with a loved one, first with ourselves, but every time we do it, we become a little stronger. We become more inspired and we become a bit more willing to live in the world as we really are, and I think that in this process of achieving enlightened audacity, the first step is that bravery to say, “What’s my truth?” To actually allow ourselves to put our hands around the insights, the experience, the truth, and the way of experiencing the world that we truly do, and that is scary because the voices say, “You’re going to get in trouble. You won’t be loved. You won’t be accepted.” So much so that it’s hard to grab on to the truth of what we’re experiencing.

    It takes true bravery to share who we really are with a loved oneCLICK TO TWEET

    Expressing Kindness And Generosity

    That’s the first foundational stage of intimacy and bravery. It’s being able to say, “What is it that I’m thinking? What is it that I’m feeling?” That act is an act of personal greatness. It’s a first step act that is just huge. Then the next step is to express that and to take the rawness, the realness of what we’re experiencing, to make that commitment that we’re going to own it. We’re going to own it and love it as our incomplete evolving truth, but our experience of truth at the moment, and then to take that and think about, “How do I express this in a way that sees the humanity of the other person?” Let me back up and think about what they have been trying to tell me, about what their needs are, their feelings are, their sensitivities are. What it’s like to be inside their world now, and not to let that stop us from claiming and expressing our truth in the right way at the right time, but being able to hold that in such a way that we can frame and craft what we want to say with that kind of kindness, caring, and cherishing.

    In dating, we’ve been taught to be cool and not kind. It’s like the modern dating call is “NEXT”, and if dating culture is anything, it is unkind, and we’ve become so used to it. I’ve talked about this a bunch before, but with the multitudes of people that we meet online, we’ve lost some basic codes of kindness that actually create the possibility of healthy intimacy. That cold approach has dead ended countless potential good relationships, and it’s led to a singles culture that is filled with deep loneliness, which is part of why we created Deeper Dating.

    It is scary to show an extra degree of kindness and generosity. It exposes our soul to do that, and then in an interaction with someone where what we’re feeling, experiencing, and needing goes against what they are, we often come in in a kind of aggressive way for a good reason, and the reason is that’s what we feel like it takes to protect our truth, but actually, when we can hold our truth in ourselves, we can do it in a much gentler way of, “We’ve made the intention and the commitment to honor that truth no matter what,” then we can come in in a way that’s a lot more gentle.

    How the other person responds to our kindness and gentleness tells us worlds about who they are, and if they’re someone we want in our world. This leads us to meet kinder people, and people who are capable of long-term, healthy love. Kindness and generosity are intoxicating to people, and they’re the medium of intimacy. There’s this kind of awkward vulnerability that we experience when we express this kindness, this generosity. It leaves us feeling kind of raw and vulnerable, and our culture has cut out so many opportunities for settled kindness due to the pace of our interactions. Current dating advice is all about confidence and carefully modulated, crafted ways of writing your profile, flirting, and interacting with people, keeping the other person guessing, but really, it’s kindness that spawns love.

    DDP 87 | Enlightened Audacity
    Enlightened Audacity: Kindness and generosity are intoxicating to people, and they’re the medium of intimacy.

     

    Showing Vulnerability

    Another is showing vulnerability, because at our core, we’re not only strong, we are tender. All of us are breathtakingly tender. We’re sensitive in the deepest ways, and life teaches us really quickly that we need to toughen up, but we all know that the more authentic we get, the more we feel our tender soul, and that’s where our life is. In a world like this, that’s scary. We’re afraid of showing and feeling our tenderness, our sexual passion, our care. Letting somebody know when we need to be held, how hard is that for so many of us? Letting people know when we need to be listened to even more deeply when we’re feeling insecure, it’s so hard to do those things. It’s not wise to do those things with people that are going to gaslight you, or criticize you, or cut into you.

    It is wise to practice that bravery with those precious people who cherish you and are going to show that. When we feel blocked in our lives, or when a dating relationship or romantic relationship becomes stale or stuck, it is because we have chosen not to be as vulnerable, not to be as authentic, not to be as truthful as we could be. Psychotherapists know that when we’re in session with a client, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, we get hit by this wave of deep tiredness and exhaustion, like all of a sudden, it becomes hard to keep our eyes open. We know that there is something we are not speaking or something our client is not speaking, and it creates this staleness that when you experience that as a therapist, you often ask yourself, “What’s not being said? What’s not being shared? What am I afraid to share that is in fact, all of a sudden, hitting me with this supernatural wave of tiredness?”

    Owning Our Originality

    It’s one of the amazing experiences that we can use as therapists to understand that there’s a secret in the room. That there’s a lack of energy because there’s a lack of truth around something. Another one is our originality, and originality is scary. Even with our human similarities, every one of us is a completely unique creation and as much as we share a language, we all have our own language of what love is, of what we see the world to be, and that uniqueness is terrifying. That is the uniqueness that artists brave every time they try to tell their truth through their creativity. On some level, we’re herd animals, and when we express parts of ourselves that make us feel different, it feels like we’re straying too far from the pack. We get scared. “Will I end up alone? Am I so different that no one’s going to want me?” As we go deeper into our authentic self, and we feel that fear, we learn the importance of cultivating our tribe. Those people with whom when we share these parts of ourselves, they look at us and we could tell that they get it, and those people are our home in the world. They are our tribe.

    All of us can think of moments when we have been afraid to share, afraid to share our deepest thoughts, or questions, or insights with someone that we care about. On a date, we curb our originality so that people don’t judge us as being odd, or there’s a piece of art that we want to share, or words that we want to put down or speak, and they scare us because they’re so charged, and we know we could get in trouble by expressing those truths. These are so human, and this is the exhilarating state of enlightened audacity. It’s making the choice to express these parts, and having the enlightenment to do it in ways that are kind, if it’s in an interaction with someone, and in ways that are discriminating. That’s the enlightened part, that we do it with people who can get it, that we search for people who can get it, that we know that there are people in this world who are going to love the language of our souls.

    It is kindness that spawns love.CLICK TO TWEETI think we’re afraid of our passion too. We’re scared, and I raise my hand for all of these. Everything I’m talking about today, I’m talking about because I’ve seen it in clients. I’ve seen it in the world, and I live it in myself most days of the week. Most of us are also scared of the depth of our love. I say this to my husband. I say, “My biggest secret is how deeply I love you.” It scares me to say that. It makes me feel so vulnerable. How powerful our anger can be… How fierce our hunger, how burning that need plays, how huge our love, how fierce our protectiveness for the people we love. I think we’re all scared of our power. Scared because we feel like it’s going to frighten other people, or maybe people have misused power on us, or we’ve seen it done so often, and we don’t want to do it to someone else. The Icarus’ image is so powerful. If we fly too high, if we get too close to the burning sun of our soul, our wings are going to melt and we’ll come crashing down. We’re afraid of showing the intensity of our power as equally as we’re afraid of showing the tenderness of our sensitivity.

    Before we close, I just want to lead you in a quick micro-meditation, and as always, you can do this, you can close your eyes and take time to just really go into this, or if you’re walking or driving, keep your eyes open and you can just kind of do this in your head as you’re listening. Have you ever had an experience where you said something that was really difficult to say, either positive or negative, and you did it with an open heart in a non-defensive way to somebody who heard it, and appreciated it, and responded positively? Have you ever had that experience? If you haven’t, just imagine what that would be like because my hope is that that’s going to be in your future. If you have, just remember what it was like taking that scary step, and then also, what it was like to kind of like own your truth but then express it with kindness. With kind of, as I talk about, cupped hands, with the cherishing of the humanity of the other person. What did that alchemy feel like inside of you? That bravery and that love mixed together. Just remember that.

    Then what it felt like when what you said was met with caring, appreciation, being heard, decency, humanity. Remember that maybe you felt warmth or gratification mixed with adrenaline or all those different things. Just take a moment to remember what that felt like. This glorious and earned alchemical feeling. These are some of the feelings of enlightened audacity. Just take a moment, remember that experience, and also acknowledge yourself for your bravery, your kindness, and your vulnerability in that experience, and just rest with that memory, and picture a life where you are with people with whom you can do that more, and with whom you do do that more. That’s the stuff of intimacy. That’s the stuff of happiness. That’s the kind of brick and mortar of building a life that’s full of love. Thank you all for listening. I invite you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to join my mailing list, to leave me a review, to subscribe, all those good things if what I talked about spoke to you. Good luck and enjoy your adventure of living enlightened audacity in your own life. Thank you.

  • The 5 Toxic Dating Myths Everyone Needs to Reject [EP086]
    Sadly, many of the most toxic, misleading and ineffective dating myths are taught everywhere–and are almost universally accepted! In this episode, I’ll take apart 5 of the biggest pieces of toxic dating advice and show why they will actually lead you away from love –and straight to insecurity. You’ll also learn much more effective ways to find love that don’t ask you to contort yourself into ways of being that just aren’t authentically you.

    Table of Contents

    The 5 Toxic Dating Myths Everyone Needs to Reject

    There are five myths about finding love that people tell us all the time we need to believe, but they actually damage us and lead us away from love. It leads us away from a truth that is actually much more empowering, healing and hopeful. Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating, the Cofounder of the meeting event, Deeper Dating, and the host of this show. Today, I’m going to talk about five incredibly toxic dating myths that we all get taught and most of us believe and cause huge amounts of pain and misdirection in our search for love. This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because truly, the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy. Those are the greatest skills of all for a rich and wonderful life. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating approach to finding love, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can join my mailing list. You can get transcripts of every episode and find out about a lot of different resources and get some free gifts too.

    Our attractions are more than just attractions. They are x-rays into the shape of our being.CLICK TO TWEETI also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice. If you have symptoms that are concerning you, please seek professional help. Finally, I would love it if you could leave a review if you could subscribe. Your reviews mean the world to me and people write beautiful, powerful, very personal, and specific things and that just meant a great deal to me and also helps other people find out about the show. Okay, so let’s dive in.

    Deadly Advice

    So often in my field, when I listen to people’s dating advice, God knows not everyone, but so many people’s dating advice. I just cringe because I’m aware that this advice is enacting a kind of violence against people’s spirits that lead them to love themselves less and ultimately end up having them being attracted to and choosing people who aren’t good for them because they’re not being their authentic self. This advice is in so many ways endemic. It’s all over the place. I’m going to talk about five myths that we have been trained to believe that actually cause a kind of psychic violence in our being and don’t lead to love. They lead to desperation. They lead to insecurity and they lead to artificial behavior that ends up getting us in trouble.

    I think I’ve talked about this before, but Frédérick Leboyer, was a French obstetrician and author, who wrote a book called Birth without Violence. In it, he popularized gentle birthing techniques that did not involve slapping a baby or having the baby’s first breath be a cry. He would immerse the baby in water, the exact temperature that was in the mother’s womb, and let the baby somehow come to breathing on its own. The faces of these babies who are immersed in water, obviously not their faces, but their bodies are immersed in water and they’re being stroked. The umbilical cord is still attached and they take their first breath naturally. Their faces are so beautiful and Buddha-like. There are videos of this.

    DDP
    Dating Myths: Does it take getting out there? Yes, it does. It doesn’t just happen like a miracle.

    He promoted birth without violence and what I’m kind of promoting here is dating without violence. I’m going to talk about each of these different myths and I’m going to talk about why they’re not true and what I think is both true and healing in their place. Here’s the first one, and this is what I’ve spoken about before, but it is that it’s all about your attractiveness, not about your attractions. The key thing that you can do to find love looks better, look more attractive and act more attractive. This is, I would say the mother lode in terms of dating advice. This is where so much dating advice spends its time and energy. There is this relentless fixation on making yourself look smoking hot.

    Absolutely, it is true that if you look smoking hot, more people are going to look at you. More people are going to want to have sex with you. More people might want to have a first date with you. All these things are true, but the statistics show that being smoking, smoking hot helps you just about not one drop in finding healthy, lasting love. I think we all know that people who are just exceedingly gorgeous-looking often have their own set of problems and in fact, the research shows, it’s often harder for them to find love. Even loving off those people who are just, you know, model-like gorgeous this fixation on those 5 pounds or 10 pounds or 30 pounds or 50 pounds or ways of acting that will seduce people. We’re going to get to that one later, but this fixation on our attractiveness and God knows I was eaten alive by that.

    This information kind of chews us up in our 20s, 30s, even in our 40s and then just starts to spit us out when we reach our 50s and 60s and thereafter. This kind of tyrannical focus on how we look is just not true and I say this based on research. I say it on experience, my own personal experience because there was a period where I looked pretty smoking hot, I think. I worked on that really hard in my 20s and early 30s and it helped me not one drop. It helped me a lot to have sex. Yes, it did, but it helped me not one drop to find love because that’s not what really leads to love.

    This focus, this relentless focus on our attractiveness really just does eat us up and misses the point in profound ways. I also want to say, well, first of all, it is great to make yourself look attractive. It’s an act of love to yourself. It’s a pleasurable experience. It is a gift to the person you date and research also shows that just the act of grooming yourself well and having good posture dramatically does improve your chance of being noticed. All of the other stuff of like kind of really getting to that extra unbelievable level, the effectiveness of that actually levels off.

    Good posture and good grooming take up a huge amount of space in terms of success around attractiveness but after that, and in addition to that, what we really need to focus on if we want to find happiness in love is our attractions. I can’t promise, but I think that my next episode is going to be about being attracted to narcissists and how that happens, what we can do about it, and how that’s playing out in the world context right now and in our country. Getting back to this though, the ability to study, well, who are the kind of people that I tend to get attracted to? What kind of people turns me on the most? If I look at my patterns of relationships, what have been the negative patterns that I ended up discovering my partners had again and again? What are the key ones? What are the major ones so that I can know to look out for those?

    Another question is, what are the qualities that were wonderful qualities that I found in some of the people that I dated or had relationships with? How can I look really more clearly and strongly for those same qualities again, because our attractions are more than just attractions? They’re X-rays into the shape of our being. They’re X-rays into the state of our self-love and self-honoring. In my book, my courses, and all my work, this is one phase of the journey that we always focus on, which is doing a study of our attractions to find out what that teaches about the parts of ourselves we haven’t learned how to love yet because they’re directly linked.

    Be Confident

    This crazy focus on your attractiveness, I promise you that you can let go of a huge percentage of it because it’s not what’s going to help you find the kind of love that’s going to last. It’s the deeper skills of intimacy and dating that we teach here that really make all the difference in the world. That’s one, this tyrannical, obsessive, painful, self-defeating relentless focus on extreme attractiveness. Here’s another one. You need to be confident if you want to find love. I’m just going to speak about this one briefly, but there is a relentless fixation on confidence as well, on coolness and confidence.

    DDP 86 | Dating Myths

    Dating Myths: Just believing in ourselves and trusting ourselves, but in a way that has humility and flexibility

    Now, natural confidence is a glorious thing. Just believing in ourselves and trusting ourselves, but in a way that has humility and flexibility, where we can acknowledge and admit the ways that we’re not perfect, but we’re somehow essentially confident in our goodness, our capacity, our decency. That’s just a glorious thing, unequivocally but the truth is that most of us spend some chunk of time not being confident. This belief that when we’re in that state, we can’t date. We can’t find love. We can’t build intimacy is hugely not true. There’s a set of skills of how to be with ourselves and be in the world when we’re feeling really shy when we’re feeling insecure when we’re feeling inadequate when we’re feeling uncertain. There’s a set of skills that we can learn where we can honor ourselves in the process and ask ourselves the huge question, “What do I need now?”

    What we might need might be to ask somebody for something. It might be to have time and space alone. It might be any one of a number of things. When we’re not feeling confident, when we’re in a zone where we’re not feeling together and integrated, and our question becomes, “How can I come off that way?” We create a kind of corrosion of our internal structure. There’s a feeling of rumbling that we fight against all the time or I’ve described it as kind of climbing a wobbly ladder. The wiser question to ask is, “What do I need right now?” Which is much more self-loving question.

    Instrumentality and Expressiveness

    Confidence is great, natural confidence, but we do not need to force a confidence. The deeper and wiser path of confidence is knowing how to care for ourselves when we’re not feeling so confident and in truth. That’s authentic confidence. Here’s another one we hear all the time and I’ve talked about this a bunch, and I’m going to keep talking about it because it just kills me. So many well-known and well-respected teachers teach this information. I think it’s damaging and I think it’s limiting. What it is, is women, you want to stay in your feminine energy and cultivate your feminine energy, the heterosexual women, if you want to find a masculine man.

    Men, you need to be an alpha male. You need to be in your masculinity if you’re going to wow the women, for heterosexual women. I think that some of this same kind of gender role situations apply in the LGBTQ community as well, although dramatically less, which is why John Gottman has said that the LGBTQ+ community is just decades ahead in terms of relationship healthiness in the way that they are not trapped by these electrocuted tripwires of gender taboo. People say things like, “Yes, we all have masculine and feminine qualities, but women, if you really want a masculine man, you really need to be in your femininity because if you’re not, you will somehow scare the masculine men away.” I don’t really understand this, but it’s what they say.

    Men, if you want to seduce women, you need to be in your alpha state. I will never forget this wonderful, lovely man in one of my workshops saying to me, “I know that as a non-alpha man, I will never be able to find the kind of woman that I really want. The kind of really amazing women, they only want alpha men and I’m not that. I’ve come to accept that.” I’ve seen so many men damaged by this kind of male seduction routine belief about being an alpha male, such damage. They’ve come to me in therapy as have so many women around the issue of this femininity piece and said, “I have to fix this.” I say to them, “You have been deeply misled because the minute you’re not you, the minute you think, ‘I have to tweak myself into a more feminine or masculine space,’ you are not being you. You are being artificial. You are setting up a seduction technique that is ultimately going to backfire on you because authenticity is what you need to be.”

    A woman might be having sex with a guy and I know I’m talking very only heterosexual here. I will open that field up, but a woman is having sex with a guy and she really wants to ride him on top. She wants to be on top, but she thinks, “No, that is not feminine energy so I can’t do that,” or she might want to be more dominant or more empowered or a man might want to touch on his more submissive parts. Each of these people thinks taboo, “I do this and I will look so deeply unattractive,” and not even just in sex, but in interactions. All of us are forcing this stuff. We’re holding our bellies in all the time to try to be this model of what we’re supposed to be.

    Researchers who have a deeper awareness of this, don’t use the word masculine or feminine. They use the word instrumentality and expressiveness instead of masculinity and femininity because those principles are not based on your physiological anatomy, and that’s so much wiser and so much more true. Now, we’re in a stuck point in a way because culture determines what’s attractive and as our culture shifts, God knows now women can be so much more empowered. Men can be so much more instrumental. Men can be so much more expressive than might’ve been allowed in the past because the culture is changing, but we’re in an in-between state.

    Those of us who are choosing to be pioneers in expressing all different parts of our gender identity spectrum, or instrumentality or expressiveness, we’re pioneers, but we are also needing to look for people who can match us in that and do that with us. For all the men who worry that they’re not masculine enough, I want to say, “I promise you that whatever gender identity or gender identities you’re interested in, I promise you that there are so many people who would find your degree of instrumentality and expressiveness the cat’s meow. I promise this is true.”

    Women, the same thing is true. Whatever your kind of places that you are in the spectrum of instrumentality or expressiveness or masculine and feminine as people often say, I promise you that there are people who will absolutely love that, need that, and want that. This is another truth that we’re not told that just feels like so much dating advice is crushing without even meaning to be. Here’s another one. We get told and we believe because it seems to make rational sense that the search for love is a numbers game, but I will prove to you that that is not true.

    DDP 86 | Dating Myths

    Dating Myths: What am I really feeling? What am I really experiencing? Who am I really now? What are my needs? What are the needs of the person I’m with?

    Because the amount of matches that happen now and the amount of numbers of people that you can meet in online dating, if this numbers game thing was true, it would mean that more people are coupled and happily coupled, but the research shows that that is far from the truth. That number of matches does not directly correlate in any way, shape, or form to your success in finding love. In doing the research that I’ve done, and meeting people that I would have thought wouldn’t be able to find partners because of their state of poverty. The fact that maybe they just got diagnosed with a terminal illness and they had a very, very short amount of time left, or people with disabilities that are just, you know, extremely profound.

    I have seen, again and again, these people by doing the work of their own intimacy journey, find amazing, amazing, real, and lasting love. I’ve seen so many people without these challenges, not be able to find love. I’ve really come to believe that it is so much more about your interstate. Does it take bravery? Does it take getting out there? Yes, it does. It doesn’t just happen like a miracle. I mean, it can, but really, I believe we need bravery and we need to get out there. I do believe that the more we make this decision to be truly who we are, and the more we make the choice to only look for people with whom that self feels safe, honored, cherished and where it’s mutual. When we make those choices and combine bravery with that, our chance of finding love goes up amazingly.

    I know that so many older women feel like, “The numbers are against me. There are so few guys of my age who want to date somebody like me.” I know that the numbers really do reveal the truth of that, but what I also know is that the determining factor in my mind is so much less numbers and so much more who you are and how you let yourself be and your willingness to get out there being who you are. Here’s the last one that just kills me. How many times have you seen articles that say things like, “Have you noticed that some women just without even trying to attract these incredibly wonderfully desirable quality men or women or people? The people just kind of like are at their feet, loving them. What do they have that’s so special? Have you noticed that some guys can just really get any woman or any person that they want? Somehow, they’ve just got this thing. You can have it too and here’s how.” This, my friends, is the path to hell and I just cringe at this advice.

    As I’ve said so many times, you do not want to be someone who is “irresistible” to quality people. You want to be you and you want to find somebody who the real you is experienced as irresistible and wonderful and glorious. It’s an act of bravery and faith to not feel like you have to learn these skills and these qualities that are going to seduce people that are going to make you irresistible and say, instead, “I am going to cultivate the essence of who I am. I’m going to lead with the essence of who I am. I’m going to be brave in doing that and I’m going to look for people with whom my soul feels safe and with whom I feel inspired.” Is that a kind of lonely, scary path? A little bit. That’s why we need help and why we need support in this path of truth.

    I want to say that in some ways, this mirrors the path of intimacy and it mirrors the artist’s path as well. Because in an intimate relationship, any kind of relationship, we’re always going to have voices that tell us who we think we’re supposed to be. Those voices sometimes can be useful and help us as measuring sticks about good qualities, but often they guide us into thinking that we’re supposed to be someone different than we are and then we try to be that. Instead of the true path of intimacy, which is an artist’s path and a warrior’s path and a lover’s path and it’s the path of saying, “What am I really feeling? What am I really experiencing? Who am I really now? What are my needs? What are the needs of the person I’m with? What are the ripples of confusion, ambivalence, beauty, aching, and longing or uncertainty? What are those feelings that I’m feeling and staying with the truth of those?”

    That’s the artist’s path too because an artist needs to say, “What’s my real experience. What am I really seeing? What am I really feeling versus what society and culture tell us I should be seeing or feeling at this moment?” This is the warrior’s path and it’s the path of intimacy and thinking that you need to do all these things to become irresistible is just simply the path to hell and it’s a path that moves us away from liberation, self-love, and healing.

    I’m happy to have shared these thoughts about this kind of toxic and kind of almost violent dating advice that ultimately really hurts us, but compels us so deeply at the same time to want to follow it. I want to point out the hope embedded in the messages that we’re talking about here. You don’t always need to be confident. You need to be able to navigate the parts of you where you don’t feel confident and interact with the world from there. That’s a kind of greatness and intimacy. You don’t need to force yourself into roles of typical masculine or feminine behavior in order to attract people and not repel people.

    You do not want to be someone who is irresistible to quality people. You want to be you.CLICK TO TWEETIt is so much less a numbers game than we’ve been taught. You do not have to worry about becoming irresistible, and it’s less about the fixation on attractiveness and so much more about a deeper wiser understanding of your attractions and learning to work with them. That’s why this deeper path to love is so much of a richer and more healing path. Thank you all for reading. I encourage you, if you could, to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and join my mailing list. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Discover Your Intimacy Shadow [EP085]
    All of us have essential aspects of ourselves that we’ve learned to hide or suppress in order to protect ourselves. When we claim these “shadow parts,” we profoundly increase our capacity for love and we find access to a tremendous sense of personal power. In this episode, you’ll learn to identify your own intimacy shadow and use it to lead you to love – and your own unique life-genius.

    Table of Contents

    How To Discover Your Intimacy Shadow

    How To Unshackle Your Potential For Authentic Love

    Discovering and embracing your intimacy shadow is the key to unlocking your potential for authentic love. Stay tuned to this episode to learn more.

    Hi, everybody. Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. This is Ken with his croaky cold voice. I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the book Deeper Dating, the co-founder of the online meeting event DeeperDating.com, and the host of this show. Today in this podcast, I’m going to help you understand how you can discover and embrace what I call your intimacy shadow. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the real skills of dating are just the skills of intimacy. If you want to learn more about this approach to finding and keeping love, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and get transcripts of every episode.

    If you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you could leave a review on iTunes or elsewhere. The last thing I want to say is that everything I’m going to share in this podcast is educational in nature, it’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please do seek professional help. Okay, let’s jump in. Thank you for bearing with my croaky voice. I’m excited about recording this podcast and I’m just going to go with it in my current croaky voice but hopefully, we’ll have my regular voice back really soon. Something I talk about a lot is that the parts of ourselves that we think we need to airbrush out in order to be attractive and to find love are actually, and this is just such a mystery, are the keys to finding love. They’re the keys in a few different ways. One way that these parts of ourselves that we feel timid about revealing are the key to finding love is because they are our genius.

    They are our deep sensitivity and passion. That’s why we’re so careful around them. That’s why we can be hurt so much there, but they are the land of our genius. They explain what hurts us. They explain what fills our hearts and they teach us who is right for us. Another reason though that they are so pivotal, so important, is because they are essential parts of our being. When we cut them out, when we airbrush them, when we deny their ferocity, their tenderness, their original truth, it’s like we are shutting our beings down. When we don’t honor those parts of ourselves and honoring doesn’t necessarily mean speaking because these parts of ourselves are not meant for all company. They’re deep, they’re tender, they’re powerful. We don’t just run through life expressing them everywhere. It’s a journey.

    Your Intimacy Shadow

    DDP 85 | Intimacy Shadow
    Intimacy Shadow: As we learn, as you learn, as I learn to perceive these parts of ourselves that are our shadow parts as gifts and not as liabilities, life starts to really make more sense.

     

    It’s an entire life journey to learn to bear the tenderness and the ferocity of those parts of ourselves but always, always the place to start is with the naming them, the identifying them, and the developing a sense of their power and their beauty and their worth, no matter what we’ve been told or taught. When we don’t do that, there are repercussions. Some of the repercussions are that we choose people who do not know how to honor these parts of us. We get involved in a drama where we try to get them to love us for who we are even though it’s an essentially failed task because it’s based on our not being able to dignify those parts of ourselves. It’s being enacted with someone who also doesn’t know how to dignify those parts of ourselves.

    The beautiful thing, and I talk about this all the time, is that the more we name and treasure and honor those parts of ourselves, the more our attractions change. This is the single greatest piece of good news that I know for anybody seeking love. The more you name these parts of yourselves, we’re going to talk more about how to do that in this episode, the more you will find yourself attracted to and meeting people who know how to treasure these parts of you. It’s an amazing and essential truth but it’s not one we really get taught.

    Other kinds of repercussions are that when we bury these parts of ourselves, we often feel shame and we often feel anger. We might not let ourselves consciously feel that anger but it’s there, because who wants to be imprisoned? Who wants to be crushed? Our gifts certainly get pissed off if that happens to them. Who wants to be confined to a container that denies us freedom and self-honoring? There’s an anger that may be consciously felt or not. Also, what happens is when we can’t honor these parts of ourselves, which I call our intimacy shadow and I’ll tell how to know them in a few minutes. When we can’t, our ways of handling these parts of ourselves in the world will be essentially immature.

    They will be a child’s method of self-protection. They will include kind of acting out, suppressing, shame, and indirect expression of our frustration, and our pain, and not being in a place where we honor the very core of our being, which is constantly emanating expression, experience, and aliveness, and the desire for authentic connection with the world. When we shut that down, it creates a number of cycles of pain and then modern dating advice does not help us because it doesn’t tell us that this radical authenticity is the path to finding love. It tells us, no, we have to fix ourselves. We have to change ourselves. We have to flirt better.

    We have to become these people that will just make women fall to their knees or make men worship us at our feet like all of this crap that ultimately deeply, deeply takes us away from the serious, beautiful journey of finding love through authenticity. These essential parts of ourselves that we have learned to hide or suppress in order to protect ourselves are our shadow parts. When we claim them, we find our heart, we dramatically increase our capacity for love, and we find access to a tremendous sense of personal power and also creativity, sense of freedom, Eros, and just aliveness. This reflects the most profound and meaningful paradox that I have encountered in my three and a half decades of practice as a psychotherapist. It’s this, the parts of ourselves that we fear will scare love away are actually, in the end, the missing link to finding that love.

    At the end of the day, the parts of ourselves that we feel will scare love away can be the missing link to finding deeper love.CLICK TO TWEET

    Your Core Gifts

    I’m going to give you a question that’s going to help you find your own intimacy shadow. On the surface, it’s going to appear really innocuously simple but if you tackle it honestly and you could do this, just like with all the other podcasts, you can like do it as you walk, do it as you drive, do it as you’re just listening, do it right now. Just answer the questions right as you go along. When you do that, it will point you to potentially the most exhilarating challenge of your life. Here’s the question? What aspects of yourself are you the most uncomfortable, hesitant, or timid to reveal in your relationships? All of us have parts of ourselves where we feel things more deeply than other people. Life just affects us really more deeply around these attributes and I call these our core gifts, and they’re the heart and the soul of the path that I teach. In fact, I’m starting new sets of intensives now, and these are six months intensives, and we spend almost half of the intensive on the discovery and the naming of our core gifts.

    You can learn so much more about this from my book Deeper Dating, or my audio course as well, or any of my other courses. These core gifts are the rudder of our being. We feel joy and pain most intensely at these points and the intensity of our experience with the joy or the pain often makes us feel uncomfortable and also somehow different than the people around us. Let me give you some examples and see if any of these hit you or feel true to you. An unrelenting desire for connection, a passion that is so intense that it could feel aggressive, a generosity of spirit so powerful that it can hurt, a quietness or softness of nature that you might have deemed as weak. A passion for truth that has gotten you in trouble again and again and again, a sensitivity so strong that sometimes even seemingly tiny experiences knock you down at the knees, or just gusts of emotion so strong that they bewilder you or embarrass you.

    These are your core gift places. These are the language of yourself. These are the places that the world does not teach us how to embrace their wildness, their tenderness, their vastness, essentially. They are the key to deeper love including essential love of self, but often those parts of ourselves are taken advantage of, or abused, or neglected because they’re so unique. They’re so vulnerable and people milk those qualities sometimes in us, instead of honoring them like milking our generosity, our competency, our capacity.

    In addition, like all special gifts and talents, like all genius, these parts of ourselves demand inordinate amounts of fuel, maturity, and wisdom, and training, which most of us never receive. As a result, these parts of ourselves become repositories of our deepest insecurities but they also hold the key to understanding why love evades us and Jung explained this beautifully through his seminal concept of the shadow. According to Jung, the shadow is our disowned self. It’s the parts of ourselves that we think are unlovable, unworthy, too strange, unacceptable.

    They’re the parts of ourselves that really do spawn our deepest insecurities but they’re also the parts of ourselves that hold our greatest gifts. How amazing that we have been built this way, that the universe works this way, that this is kind of the deeper physics of finding and keeping love? How amazing that is that the last place we want to look is the first place we should be looking, which is in the magic that we’ve been hurt by inside us, so we’ve pushed aside. How powerful, what an amazing story that is. It’s kind of an epic journey and it is the epic journey of deeper love. Ultimately, when we suppress those parts of ourselves, it protects us from immediate pain, but it keeps deeper love forever at arm’s length and it leaves us with a sense of emptiness and insecurities that eat at us.

    DDP 85 | Intimacy Shadow
    Intimacy Shadow: The more you claim your shadow parts, the more you will find yourself attracted to people who know how to treasure those parts of you.

     

    To protect these parts of ourselves, we create immature defenses that are self-sabotaging, but they’re the best we could do that push away the very love we desire. Another thing that happens, and this is like, it’s an amazing corollary, the degree to which we push those parts down is the degree to which we’re going to be drawn to people who can’t love us for who we are or that we find that we meet people who can love us for who we are and we can’t sustain the dynamic joy of true intimacy in our love relationships. That’s because hiding these parts of ourselves is more than just avoidance. It is an act of quiet violence against our very nature and it creates a terrible vacuum where our authenticity is supposed to be. In the long run, that vacuum ends up being filled with relationships and situations that just diminish us. This is how Jung said it. He said, “That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our life as fate,” or you might say those core gifts that we do not learn how to treasure appear in our lives as crappy romantic relationships, as painful romantic relationships.

    Your Life Genius

    In my work as a psychotherapist and a teacher, my most essential task is to help my clients discover that those very parts of themselves they feel most hesitant to reveal, reflect their life genius. A genius that the world probably never taught them to cultivate channel and express in positive ways. The act of discovering the tremendous worth of these orphaned parts of ourselves creates an absolute sea change in our lives. This is something that I have the privilege of seeing happen again and again, and has happened in my own life and continues to happen because God knows it’s not like I have done it. It is a constant ongoing process and that’s why I believe in practices like my exercise, my favorite exercise, which I teach in episode three, which is The Inner Mentor™ Processes. It’s one of my most powerful ways to help me kind of continue to deconstruct the shame and grow wisdom and capacity, in embracing and expressing my core gifts.

    As we learn, as you learn, as I learn to perceive these parts of ourselves that are our shadow parts as gifts and not as liabilities, life starts to really make more sense. It’s like the underlying story of our life begins to come clear. These things are really true. I’ve seen this again and again. We start to lose our taste for people who chip away at our self-esteem. We choose relationships differently and single people really do start to find themselves meeting and being attracted to people who accept them for who they are. People in couples begin to risk revealing feelings of deeper passion, or intensity, or vulnerability, or need, and relationships that have been stagnant begin to come alive as authenticity, which is the key to true intimacy, starts to reemerge. People develop a sense of inner dignity that comes naturally.

    It’s this experience that I describe as kind of being lit from within and a sense of self-worth comes with this as well as finding our tribe which is the people with whom these parts of ourselves are essentially deeply, automatically appreciated, and respected. This journey of learning to honor, and dignify, and cultivate a wiser discipline around your core gifts, around your shadow self is not for the faint of heart, but it is, I believe without a doubt, the true adventure of deeper love. Thank you for listening, including to my raspy voice this week. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. Again, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to sign up for my mailing list. Thank you all.

  • How We Can Invite Love Back [EP084]
    Why can love so easily feel like it’s gone into hiding? And what can we do to invite love back? Why does even solid love often feel less than solid? In this episode, we’ll learn ways that help us connect more consistently to the love inside us, and the love inside the people we care about.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How We Can Invite Love Back

    Why Love Can Feel Like It’s Gone Away

    Why do feelings of love sometimes feel like they’ve just waned or gone away? What can we do to invite them back? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, a psychotherapist, the author of the book Deeper Dating, the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for single people to meet, and the host of this podcast. Today, I’m going to talk about how love can come back. Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating really just the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest and most important skills of all so that we can have the lives we want. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, as well as finding transcripts of every episode. I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice. If you feel you’re experiencing some serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, it would be wonderful if you could leave me a review on iTunes or elsewhere. Thank you so much for that.

    I’m going to dive right in. I think one of the many painful and harmful myths that we are taught about love is that if there’s a steady, solid love, we are supposed to experience that love steadily. To me, that is just not how love works. Love goes subterranean. Sometimes we don’t even notice it when we love someone really deeply. We don’t feel it when we’re annoyed at them. We don’t feel it when we’re in the middle of mundane tasks, but in then certain situations, our heart swells with a feeling of love for that person, even though at other times, we don’t think of that person or we’re with them and we feel almost nothing. We might wonder, “Do I not love deeply enough?” or we’re with the other person and they seem to be in a kind of mundane place and we’re feeling filled with love?

    A Few Caveats

    We wonder, “Do they love me enough?” The truth is that love is so deep and so profound that it can’t be held in the hands of our cognition. It’s too vast and too profound for that and its language is one that we spend our whole lives learning and it bewilders us. It tricks us, it plays hide and seek with us and on some level, we just need to kind of make peace with that reality. Today, I’m going to talk about the ways that we can experience love coming back – because love can surprise us in the ways that it comes back, can, and does. I also just want to say that some of you might be thinking now, “Oh, boy. I don’t want to hear about how love comes back. I tried so hard to end an unhealthy relationship with a narcissist.”

    It was brutal. I don’t want to think about love coming back. I just want to say that I truly understand that and, in many cases, it’s best for love not to come back. It’s best not to do all the work that it takes to make that love come back. It’s best to stay away. I just want to give some examples of those kinds of situations because maybe your heart is aching to have love come back, but you know it’s not good for you. I don’t want to step on that. I want to honor that. I know that that’s one of the hardest things of all. If there is any kind of serious addiction, you’re at risk in the relationship. If there’s a serious addiction and the person doesn’t want to change or get better, that risk is more profound.

    Love is so deep and so profound that it can’t be held in the hands of our cognition.CLICK TO TWEETWe all need to make personal choices about what we’re going to do in that case of being in a relationship with someone who is actively addicted to something and that’s a very personal choice. In the case of addiction, many of the things that I say about love coming back just won’t be true or won’t be able to stick. Those are just not safe situations. If there’s serious psychiatric conditions or mental illness that are not risks, that are not stabilized,that includes major depression, really serious depression, where they’re not stabilized and the person is not getting help or not getting enough help. Those are problem situations too. Again, it’s an existential and personal choice who we’re going to stay with and who we’re not but I’m just saying that these are situations where if your gut tells you to leave, if you have to work to not keep trying to make love come back, I want to honor that.

    A person who is not willing to do the work in a relationship – that’s another area where there’s going to be real problems. Even if the feeling of love comes back briefly if both of you are not willing to do the hard work, it really may not be worth it if the other person is a serious narcissist. My friend Hara Marano, who is the Advice Columnist for Psychology Today says, and I repeat this all the time, “There are three C’s in making a choice about who we want to be with and those are character, character, and character.” If you’re with someone who doesn’t have deep and essential integrity, who’s not willing to do the work, who lies to you, who is abusive to you, who cheats on you, these are situations where you really may want to get out.

    When Love Goes Subterranean

    In any situation where you or your children or loved ones are in any serious danger, those are situations where you need to get out but don’t do it in a way that is rash. Do it with the help of a professional expert, because those can be really risky situations. Those were kind of like caveats that I needed to say. Now I want to talk about love coming back in situations where that’s a really good thing. A magical thing about love and it doesn’t feel so magical often is that it can go subterranean. It can feel like it’s disappeared and a kind of adult understanding of love lets us know that it may feel like it’s disappeared, but it probably hasn’t disappeared.

    This is a story I often tell about an ex of mine who was a very wise person. I looked at him during a really difficult time and I asked him, “Do you still love me?” He said, “Of course, I do.” He said, “It’s like the moon or the sun in an eclipse. I don’t see it now. I don’t feel it now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.” This was so wise and so beautiful and something I really held onto. Maybe we feel our love diminishing. Maybe we feel our partner’s love diminishing and then all of a sudden, you go on vacation or your partner does something really brave or really wonderful or really kind and you see the beautiful parts of them where that happens for them toward you and then the feelings kind of come pouring back.

    These in and out experiences with love are supposed to happen but our job is to live and relate in such a way that we do the continuous work of rediscovering love, and it is work. It’s almost like, if you ever dug a hole at the beach when the waves were coming, you had to dig fast enough that the hole wouldn’t keep being completely covered up. You had to dig faster than the wave. In day-to-day life and in day-to-day difficulties, there is a trend toward numbness, a trend toward rushing, a trend toward insensitivity, a trend toward getting too accustomed to each other, a kind of familiarity that’s not a loving one. All those trends exist and we have to do ongoing tasks of digging in the sand so that we keep uncovering the love that can go subterranean. We do that at a pace that’s faster than the numbing pace of life that moves us away from these deeper experiences of love.

    DDP
    Invite Love Back: In many cases, it might be best not to do all the work that it takes to make love come back.

     

    John Gottman talks about the concept of bids which is a fabulous intimacy concept. A really important one. In a couple, in a relationship, in a friendship, we each put out bids and those bids are bids to be seen and noticed and recognized so that I might say to someone I love, “Look at that boat with that incredible blue color.” I say this because it’s really beautiful looking to me, and the person I’m with just says, “Oh yeah, blue. I got the greatest blue outfit yesterday.” I am going to feel not seen. The bid that I made for connection for being seen was dropped and the quality of a relationship can be determined by the number of bids that are beautifully picked up and responded to, and the ones that are dropped and ignored. We need, especially in long-term relationships or with old friends, to notice the way that we drop bids and change that. When we do, we resuscitate the visceral experience of intimacy, treasuring, and care.

    It’s like love gets refound or rediscovered or relearned. That is a beautiful, beautiful, surprising, and wonderful process and in long-term relationships, it takes work, it takes ongoing work, but we must do that work because that’s the work of love. I want to give a story of how this takes place in dating, and a story of how this takes place in an ongoing relationship. These are two stories of people that I know and they’re amazing stories. This is the story of Mark and Sarah. Mark and Sarah met, they dated, they had a really deep bond, but Mark felt like Sarah wasn’t really exactly his type. He loved her, he adored her, he was attracted to her, but he was looking for a different type. They dated, they had a passionate, deep, wonderful connection but he never was sure for him. Love had never fully arrived or he might’ve said it did arrive maybe, but it wasn’t enough to make him want to love.

    This is quite an amazing story. At a certain point, Sarah just couldn’t do it anymore. She said, “We’re stopping. This is too painful. I can’t do it.” Mark and Sarah both agreed in very adult ways that this was the right thing to do. Mark was dating all these different women and really having a ball and not missing Sarah. He literally did not miss her. This is very intense but I know Mark. I know this story. He told me this story. One night, he did not know this, but Sarah had met a guy that she really liked and they were moving toward potentially getting married and this guy was going to pop the question. The night before that was going to happen, Mark was brusquely awakened out of the middle of sleep.

    It was like somebody was shaking him and he had no idea what this was. It was a terrifying experience for him because there was nobody in the room, but he felt that, he sat bolt upright. It felt like a presence of his mother who had passed away when he was much younger, which was incredibly painful to him, the loss of his mom, but he felt her presence and he felt like she was shaking him and saying, “What are you doing? You’re going to lose her.” Anyway, love came back. This is a remarkable story but it’s a story that captures something really beautiful. The next morning, he woke up, called his best friend. They bought a ring and he went and he proposed to Sarah. Many years later, they are so deeply happily married with kids and a beautiful life together.

    Isn’t that amazing that he didn’t even remember that he loved her or that he missed her or needed her until that moment that somehow he encountered a level of being where he felt his love, which thank God, he did? This is an amazing story about dating and it relates in so many different ways, but this is why I deeply encouraged people to slow down in their dating life and have moments where you see the person. Moments where you feel the person, moments where you’re sober and you do things together that are beautiful or inspiring. You have rich conversations because without that, you’ll forget the sense of caring. It’s an amazing mystery how we can do this, but we do it all the time. We do it with our kids, we do it with our spouses, we do it with our parents, and we do it with our pets because the act of loving is more of an action.

    Love can sometimes be like the sun in an eclipse. You might not see it now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s an action of digging to those deeper spaces as opposed to having it just be there and if it’s not just there, that means the love isn’t deep enough. I want to tell you another story. This is another very moving story. I’m allowed to tell this story even though these were clients that I worked with because they gave me complete permission, but I’m still not going to use their names, or details, because this is an even broader platform than I usually share these stories in. Somebody came to see me who had been in a relationship with his partner for over twenty years. He came to see me because he didn’t feel like he was being authentic.

    He felt like he wasn’t in love with his partner anymore. The love was not there. He liked him, but the love wasn’t there. I’m going to do my very best not to cry during this story because it’s an intense one. He came to see me about this and he decided that his goal was to end the relationship, which of course I respected. We discussed it this way and that way in all different ways because I really believe both feet in before you decide to go both feet out. He really felt like he was doing both feet in and he knew he was ready for both feet out. He could not do it. Finally, he wrote a letter to his partner and he told his partner, “I care about you deeply. I will always be your friend, but I’m not in love and I haven’t been in love in years. I feel this is the right thing to do.”

    This was devastating to his partner, but his partner handled it very graciously, very beautifully, and with a lot of dignity, although it was immensely hard. His partner was much older than him and was profoundly ill at that point. He had an oxygen tank and had to breathe that way. My client did this. They both knew that it was going to be over. My client was preparing for it to be over but somehow, after he said, “This is over, I don’t love you,” love came back, unless and until he had the freedom to be able to say no. This was just him, God knows it’s not true for everybody, but for him until he had the freedom to do that terrifying no, there wasn’t room for love to be felt.

    It was time for him to tell his partner that he decided, and realized, and had the revelation that he actually really loved him and that love had gone hidden for so many years as they had inured themselves into a daily romance, free relationship. He was going to say to his partner, “I love you.” Those were words that he had not spoken in decades. That was the plan, he was going to do that. He went to do that and he couldn’t do it. He came back, “Ken, I didn’t do it.” He came back again, “Ken, I didn’t do it.” He came back again, “Ken, I can’t do it. Will you help me?” This is something that I rarely do but because his partner couldn’t come to me in my office because of his oxygen, I went to their house. I went to their apartment and my client had written a very beautiful letter and he was going to read it when we were together.

    I went over there and I was with the two of them, these two very lovely men. I said, “This is to help my client be able to say something he wants to say.” My client read this very beautiful letter saying that he loved him and did want to be together. The joy that was in his partner’s face hearing that news was so moving. It was so beautiful. It was very sweet, very emotional, and very amazing. He had to go through that whole thing of no, he had to go through that whole thing of being someone who was not trapped in a relationship for love to come back.

    DDP
    Invite Love Back: Rediscovering love takes work, but we must do that work because that is the work of love.

     

    The story continues because they did this and they acknowledged their bonds of love. A few days later, my client went to work and came back and his partner was lying on the floor dying. My client took him in his arms and held him, then brought him to the hospital and his partner passed away, but his partner passed away knowing how much they both loved each other. This is a precious and amazing story that I wanted to share with you but I can’t tell you how many stories I have seen and how this has been true in my own relationship in my own life. The experience of love coming back because you don’t stop trying. Love coming back because you speak truth. Love coming back because you make room for your freedom and the other person makes space for that.

    The Love Within You

    I wanted to share these rich and beautiful stories but now I want to say something else too because I think that a question is, and this is a rich, rich question for all of us, “what shuts us down so we don’t feel those deeper streams of love?” What makes us numb to love? When do we get numb to love? How do we behave when we’re numb to love? These are such rich questions and then here’s another really rich question. What do you do that puts you into a zone where you can feel the ripples and the eddies and the pulls and the movements of love deep within you? What are those things that you do because those things are gold and I believe they’re not optional because our hearts harden with, most of our hearts, harden without help? These skills, the skills that I try to teach in this podcast, the things that you know of that help you soften your heart, these are gold and these are the path that we need to keep doing and keep staying in so that love can surprise us.

    Grant Shepherd, is someone who ia decades-long meditator and a teacher of Tantra, taught me and my husband the most beautiful practice, that’s a practice that helps us do this and I want to share it with you and you can find out more about Grant by going to ConsciousPathways.net. It’s just what he calls a Tantric Hug, which is at any time of the day, we put our feet super close together, we hug each other, but it’s not like a one-second hug or a peck. It’s like a holding so that as much of our bodies as possible touch. We hold each other like that and sink into the love. We put our foreheads together and just hold our foreheads together and then end with hugging again.

    We do this all the time because it brings us to magic land. A magic land that a moment before we might not have felt or recognized or known was even there or so close to the surface. There’s such richness here. There’s such hope here, and there’s such mystery in how feelings of love play hide and seek, and how steady love is never experienced in some ways as truly steady. Thank you for listening to this episode and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex [EP083]
    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his personal, direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts. Today’s powerful questions include: “How do I manage dating during COVID times?” and, “I’m losing attraction to someone as he becomes more available. What should I do?”

    Table of Contents

    Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex

    How Do I Date During COVID Times? Can An Unhealthy Relationship Ever Really Become A Healthy One? And More!

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing questions about love, sex and intimacy. I do it in such a way that you can apply these insights to the particulars of your own love life and your own dating life. You’re going to leave this episode with a sense of new possibilities and hopefully some revelations about your own intimacy journey.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book, Deeper Dating, host of this show and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new way for single people to meet in an environment that is respectful, kind and inspiring. Today, I’m going to be answering some of your questions about dating love and relationships. Every week, I’m going to be sharing with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Those are the greatest skills of all for us to have happy lives. If you want to learn more about this approach, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and learn more about the work that I’m doing, and other people, who I respect, are doing as well. You’ll also find complete transcripts of every episode.

    I also want to say that every piece of advice or insight that I share in this show is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you feel like you need help around some serious issues, please do yourself the favor of getting that help. If you like what you’re learning here, it would be fabulous if you could subscribe and leave me a review. I so appreciate the reviews that I’ve been getting. Now, we’re going to jump into the first question.

    The Wave

    Someone asked me to speak about the wave. She talked about somebody that she’s known over six years. They work together and they’ve always been comfortable together. She used to find him very attractive at the time that he was married – such similarities and connections. When he was going through a divorce, she wondered if there could be more between the two of them. She’s continually dated emotionally unavailable people, and she wants something different and he is interested in her. The question that this person has is that she feels repulsed at the idea of being physical with him. She’s wondering, “why is this?” Is this what I call the wave? That she guesses that if he was more unavailable or less responsive, she would find him hot. The question is, “Is this the wave and how do I navigate it?”

    Here are some thoughts that I want to share about this. My guess is that at least a significant part of what’s going on with this for you is the wave. Why? A few different reasons. One, you’ve been attracted to this guy before when he was not available. Two, you have a history of being attracted to unavailable men. Whenever we have a history of being attracted to unavailable or not very kind, decent, or responsive people, when we meet someone who is all those things, the chances are huge that we’re going to experience the wave, the wave of distancing. Which means you start feeling repulsed, you lose interest, you feel suffocated, you ache for freedom again, to go back to the hunt. Maybe certain things about the person start irritating you badly that didn’t irritate you before. These are all the different kinds of things that can happen when we encounter the wave.

    Online dating is built to be like a bag of chips. You keep going for the next one and the next.CLICK TO TWEETI talk about this a lot. When we hit the wave, it’s a place to celebrate because it means we’ve probably found someone available and decent, and we are scared because this could be real or we could get engulfed or all of the different fears that come up for us. I am someone who was single for decades and decades because of the wave. The wave destroyed my romantic life and my possibilities for finding love for so much time. I find it amazing that this incredibly powerful dynamic that stops many of us from healthy love doesn’t get talked about, and we don’t get taught how to deal with it, which is something that I love to do because I’ve been through it so many times myself. I know that many other people have been through it as well. I also want to say that I speak about this in some more detail in episode 39, and certainly in my book and my audio course as well.

    The first and most important thing is to understand that, as strange as it seems, it most likely does not mean that your attraction for this person has gone away. What it means is that your psyche is registering the fact that this person could maybe not go away and that’s scary in its own. There’s such a beautiful freedom to somebody who’s sexy and unavailable, and you can’t fully get them to commit. You can’t feel it, but there’s such a freedom with that because they’re not in your face. They’re not remaining present. You don’t have to feel the fears that come about being trapped in a relationship.

    Those of us who have been repetitively attracted to people who aren’t good for us or aren’t available will go through the wave almost definitely. It comes and goes and comes back and disappears. I call it a wave because it is a wave. A wave hits you, it slams into you, and then it passes. Now, this wave will not pass if you force yourself to do things you’re not ready to do. If you force yourself to be more sexual than you’re ready to be. For example, with this person, you might ask yourself, “Do I feel repulsed physically? Is this something I would want to do with him? Maybe I would hold his hands. Maybe I would put my hand on his legs. I like his legs. That would feel good. That would feel nice.”

    “Maybe I’d like his arm around me. He put his arm around me at one point and that felt nice, but that’s all that I want to do.” You respect that and you honor it and you make space for it because this is only a wave and you don’t push yourself to do stuff you don’t want to do. That’s the first part. The second thing you do is not flee. not tell yourself, “I guess I’m too immature for healthy love,” not tell yourself, “That’s it. If I don’t feel anything now, the attraction wasn’t there, to begin with.” No, you know that it’s a strange, strange defense that your psyche is creating to protect you because it feels in danger of real intimacy. If when the wave hits, like for example, with this guy, you let yourself enjoy him, do the stuff you want to do with him.

    Take deep pleasure in all the connection you have with him. When you have little fantasies of wanting to touch him or be next to him or rub up against him or anything like that, you allow those fantasies. If you don’t have those fantasies, that’s fine too. You enjoy him and let the feelings grow. The chances are huge that the desire will come back. I know for me, with my husband, the wave hit and left and hit. I felt like a crazy person. Sometimes I felt like, “I am so in love.” Other times I would feel nothing. “What the hell have I gotten us into? I’m screwed and he’s screwed because I don’t feel anything,” but I knew what to do with the wave. This thing that had plagued me for so long, I gave it space.

    DDP 83 | Love And Dating Advice
    Love And Dating Advice: There is such beautiful freedom to somebody who’s sexy and unavailable, and you can’t fully get them to commit.

    I didn’t take it as seriously. I enjoyed Greg and I allowed the little bubbles of interest and connection and sexuality and Eros, all those things to bubble up when they bubbled up and give it space. Sure enough, it was that the feelings had gone subterranean for a while. That’s what I deeply suggest for you. Don’t flee. Don’t make assumptions. Understand this strange phenomenon in dating that we don’t get taught about, which is the wave, and try this technique. My guess is strong that the feelings will begin to come back if you give yourself a break and enjoy him.

    Dating In The Time Of COVID

    Someone else said, “With COVID, it’s not safe to start dating. How do you connect in a meaningful way if you can’t spend time with somebody? Those of us who were single and didn’t think ahead to get pandemic boyfriends and girlfriends need help not to be so lonely.” Here’s what I have to say to that. This is something very close to my heart. I’ve spent years working on a way for people to intimately meet online, which is DeeperDating.com, which is just being launched in a way that’s inspiring and warm and connected.

    The first thing that I would say, use the technologies, use the websites, use the apps that feel most suited to you, and filter for qualities that matter most to you wherever you can. Filter for interests and passions that matter most to you. Understand that there’s a lot of lying and a lot of bad behavior. It is the Wild West out there with online dating. There’s so much disrespect. That is how it is in most dating venues. Know that that’s true. On top of the fact that most of the people you meet won’t be right for you, which is that’s the land of dating, but use those venues anyway to the degree that you can. I talk about this a lot in my different podcast episodes. Honor the connections that you make because, in this land of plenty matches and little intimacy, we tend to swipe or move through people quickly. Take the time to look for real qualities of inspiration and go a little bit slower. Don’t do swipe circuitry. Do slow circuitry in your dating life and get to know the people you meet through this amazing resource of online dating, where you get to meet so many different people. Take the time to look for inspiration, which is the key in all forms of data.

    Don’t put up a wall to Eros and don’t put up a wall to intimacy when you’re doing online dating. There’s the tendency to think, “This is online dating. We can’t even meet anyway.” First, interacting through messaging, then actually hearing their voice, talking to them on video, these things can be very sexy, very Eros-filled. If we tell ourselves, “No, I cannot let that Eros come out. I can’t let myself feel those kinds of tendrils of desire hearing this person’s voice. I can’t let myself be too vulnerable, too intimate until I meet the person.” I encourage you not to think that because this is what we got now, folks. We need to start out with a deeper, richer authenticity, and allow Eros to form, allow interest, intimacy, and vulnerability to form even before you meet.

    Of course, we all need to be very honoring of people’s feelings about what feels safe and what doesn’t feel safe because we’re all in deep flux about that, depending on so many different issues that we’re facing. Make room for the person who needs the most safety in terms of distance and masks. Let that person be the decider, because safety is everything. Of course, you can encourage the person. There’s no reason not to get together six feet apart. If sexual desire and frustration happen, frustration is never fun, but that builds Eros as well. That longing builds Eros. We need to work with what we’ve got and that’s what I would say there. The thing about online dating is it’s flat. There’s like an agnostic quality to it.

    Take the time to look for inspiration, which is the key to all forms of dating.CLICK TO TWEETIt’s not values-based except the value of wanting to meet people. Look for sites, look for organizations, look for activities that are about people’s passions, where you can follow your own passions at the same time as you’re dating. Look for the events, look for the things that are the most values-driven, the most passion-driven, and do those things. Those are also wonderful ways that you can meet people. We need to let our Eros, our sexuality, our romance develop these days in virtual ways and distanced ways. We can honor that. We can honor the sexiness in that, the frustration in that, and we need to honor those things because it’s a different world. What I would say is don’t feel like you need to put any lid on your vulnerability, on your outreach, on your erotic self just because you can’t get close yet. Cultivate those things in a virtual environment and move as quickly as you can from messaging to phone. Move as quickly as you can from phone to video. Move as quickly as you can from video to meeting in person with whatever social distancing you want. Even in this world, romance can continue and continue in different ways.

    Moving Slowly

    Next, someone brings up a pretty amazing point. She says that she had listened to the episode on online dating hacks that I did. She said the thing that resonated with her was the concept of moving slowly. This is what she said, which I think is so fabulous because it’s so true for so many people. She said, “I get excited about someone and if they don’t respond, I get over-enthusiastic. I might reach out to them three different times because I’m nervous that they’re not interested enough or that some nice person who responds to me. I take days to respond to them if I respond to them at all.” I love this because this so captures how we flee love at the same time that we seek it.

    That’s a very human trait. These tendencies are cultivated by the abundance and the distance that exists in typical online dating. What I want to say is these are two areas for you to train yourself. I think it’s glorious when we can say, “I see I’m doing a behavior that I can’t stop, but I know it’s not good for me. I know it’s pulling me away from intimacy.” That to me is someone on their intimacy journey that they can say that. What do you do? Here’s what the research shows you do. You don’t try to change it on your own because it probably won’t work. You get help and you get support and you, what they call bookend it with somebody, you say, “This is what I’m working on.” Hopefully, this is a learning partner who’s also trying to grow in these ways. In my book and my courses, always, I link people with learning partners so that the learning can come together. All of you, if you know somebody, who’s interested in the deeper work of the intimacy journey, work with them to support each other. I promise you it’ll change your world when you do that. It will move you to love closer than doing and quicker than doing it alone.

    Back to these behaviors. With that, you have articulated two behaviors that don’t help. The first behavior is constantly reaching out to someone who’s not available. The quality to cultivate there would be eyes open. You reach out, maybe once more, you give it space. You notice if they don’t respond and you watch because you are learning things about who they are and you call your friends to cool down your jets when you want to reach out to this person again and again, and you don’t. You might want to give them another try. You might want to give them another two tries, but you don’t react based on that urgent feeling of, “I want to get them to see me.” That is hard as hell to do. That’s why we need the support of friends. That’s why we need to make this a conscious journey of growth.

    Next, the other one is huge. This is gold. There’s an ancient Hindu saying that says, “Sometimes poison tastes like honey and honey feels like it must be poison.” These people who are nice guys, who you’re finding that reach out to you, they are honey, but they feel like poison, in this case, would be boring. It is more boring to have to do the work. You do have to slog through a bit of boredom here. You do. It’s only a short slog because if the person is lovely, then you get inspired. It’s a little mini desert you have to cross off this stranger you don’t know and having to do the work and know that maybe they’re going to be boring. Maybe they’re not going to be nice. Maybe it’s going to be a waste of time. You’re not too excited, but you slog across that mini desert until you connect with the person and you show your heart, you show who you are, and you show your soul and you watch who they are.

    DDP
    Love And Dating Advice: In any relationship, we reach a point where the thing that we most need from our partner becomes the thing that they’re least able to give us.

     

    Sometimes it gets very exciting and it’s wonderful. These guys are your gold, the guys who boringly respond to you, and then you don’t answer because it’s more exciting to see the next person and the next person and online dating is built to be like a bag of chips. You keep going for the next and the next. It is built to sculpt that behavior in us. I think I’ve mentioned this before. Tinder gets 18,500 swipes per second every day or something like that. It’s addictive. It’s like gaming. It’s compulsive. The act of valuing the people we meet who don’t wildly thrill us, but seemed like they could be the land of potential, we need to honor those and move ahead with those. We need to get friends to support us and help us in doing that. The other piece is that often if we’re used to the spiciness of unavailable, cocky, arrogant people, kindness and decency and availability seem boring. That’s another mini desert we need to cross because, with the right person, those things are not boring. They’re gorgeous. We can cultivate a sense and a taste for that. Those are two behaviors that you can actually work on. My encouragement is to work on them with friends.

    The Real Deal

    Next fabulous question, someone asks, “Do I be authentic and tell the person that I’ve started dating? I’m looking for marriage. I’m looking for the real deal here. Does that scare people off? By not doing it and not stating my truth, am I actually encouraging game playing? Might I scare somebody off when I do this? When should I do it?” These are all fabulous questions. What I would say to this listener is three cheers for you because the most important thing is you are claiming the validity of what you want and wanting a committed relationship, and marriage is gorgeous. That is a gorgeous, wonderful thing that is meant to be honored. What I would say is you could say that pretty early on that you’re looking for a real relationship. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re looking for that with this person because you don’t know this person yet, but you could say that those are the longer-range goals. You might not want to do that right away. You want to give it time. I think it’s a good thing to give it a little bit of time to see who the other person is, but I completely agree.

    Don’t play games about what you want. I’ve told this story in another episode, but I know someone who read the book, The Rules, and she followed all of these rules about what a woman is supposed to do. God forbid, the woman says, “I want to get married and have kids.” The Rules, she felt, helped her in some ways about not pursuing unavailable people, but she met this guy and she liked him. They were in a group hike together. They sat down on a rock and they were eating lunch together. She’s scared, but she said, “I got to tell you this. I want you to know that I am looking for marriage and kids.” She was so scared because it went again against all of her training about what she was supposed to do. He looked at her and he said, “Where do I sign?” They’re still together to this day. It was so brave of her to do that. He was the guy who wanted to get married and have kids. I say three cheers for you. Thank you also for your words of appreciation about the podcast.

    Attraction Of Deprivation Into Attraction Of Inspiration

    The last question that I’m going to speak to is from someone who wrote something also sweet, saying that not everybody can afford therapy and that this is an opportunity to learn some of those lessons and that she’s very appreciative. Thank you so much for saying that. The question was, “Can a relationship that has been an attraction of deprivation turn into an attraction of inspiration?” The answer is absolutely yes if both partners are willing to do the work because that’s the big question. Now, if there is an addiction, until the person’s sober, it’s probably not ever going to be able to be an attraction of inspiration. Where they’re serious, unstabilized psychiatric disorders, the same thing is true. The person needs to have those stabilized. If the person is not willing to do the work of their own personal growth, facing their stuff, dealing with the real challenges of intimacy, it’s also not going to change. If those are not the case and the person is willing to do the work and you both are willing to listen to each other and learn from each other, then absolutely yes.

    The attraction of deprivation can become an attraction of inspiration, but you do need to watch, is this person going to remain unavailable or are they going to let themselves be available? Even though people put the words on it and make some effort, if they’re not willing to be available, you will know that over a period of time. I want to say that everyone to some degree is an attraction of inspiration and an attraction of deprivation and the brilliant theorist Harville Hendrix says that in any relationship, we reach a point where the thing that we most need from our partner becomes the thing that they’re least able to give us. That’s how intimacy works. All of that is true too, but there does need to be a deep availability, a basic availability, a willingness to do the work and kindness and goodness, and a basic sense of character. With those things there, I’d say it’s worth a try. Marianne Williamson has a great quote. She says, “Both feet in until both feet out.” Give it your all and try. If you feel at a certain point, it can’t work, then give it your all and leave in the best way you can. There is a chance that as you grow, the other person can and will grow too if they’re willing to. Thank you all for listening to this episode. Keep your questions coming. I adore them. Go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click on Ask Ken and leave your questions there. Have a wonderful week. I’ll see you in the next episode.

  • The Two Questions You Need To Ask About Your Relationship [EP082]
    This episode teaches two essential questions to ask yourself about any relationship. These powerful questions have the ability to deepen and transform almost any relationship— including your relationship with yourself. Just answer the questions silently to yourself as you listen to the episode, and you’ll come to a much deeper, more helpful understanding of that relationship—and of yourself.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

     

    The Two Questions You Need To Ask About Your Relationship

    Because We Get Hurt Precisely In The Places We Care The Most

    What are two of the most powerful questions you can ask to heal and strengthen any relationship? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out.

    Hi, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book, Deeper Dating and the host of this show. Today, we’re going to talk about the two questions that you need to ask yourself about any important relationship that you have. This week and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because all the skills of dating are just the skills of intimacy. Those are the most precious skills of all for happy and rich life. I also want to say that you can get the transcript of this episode by going to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can hear all my other episodes there. You can sign up for my mailing list and get free gifts there as well.

    I also want to say that I, and my husband, have created an online dating event based on all the values that I teach that we’re so excited about. You can go to DeeperDating.com to learn more about that and hear about events that will be hopefully in your neck of the woods as well. I also want to say that everything I talk about in this episode is going to be educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please do seek professional help. Finally, I would so appreciate it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. I’m going to jump in now.

    Today, I’m going to teach you an exercise that can bring compassion and deep insight to any of your most important relationships, – romantic, friendship, family, and also point you toward greater closeness, healing and joy with your loved one. This exercise is going to ask you to reflect on two of the absolutely most important questions that can lead us to a richer and more conscious life. The questions are completely obvious, but our ability to discount and dishonor our responses to those questions is nothing short of breathtaking. You’ll see what I mean.

    We get hurt and inspired the most in the places we care about the most.CLICK TO TWEET

    What Interactions From Your Relationship Inspire You And Hurt You The Most?

    What I’d like you to start by doing, as we’ve done in so many of our other episodes, just do this while you’re listening. You can be running, you could be walking, you could be driving. You don’t need to write anything down, you could just answer these questions out loud as you go. It will enrich you and open your eyes to deeply important intimacy themes in your life, and point you toward your direction of deeper intimacy growth, which all of us want. Start by choosing a relationship you want to focus on. It could be someone you’re dating, someone you’re in a relationship with, a family member, a friend. You can do thisese tons of times. Choose whoever comes up for you first now. Question number one, what interactions in this relationship inspire you the most, touch your heart, make you feel safe, make you feel challenged, make you feel honored, make you feel like you belong, any of those kinds of questions.

    I’d like you to pause the recording if you like and just list them. Just list the ones that inspire you the most. I’d like you to pause now and list them. What I want to say is we’ve got macro inspirations, like deep character qualities that move you greatly, ways that they are with you. We have micro inspirations. It could be the way that this person tends to their plants or decorates their house or cooks or takes care of their pets, anything. Macro, micro, think what interactions, what things that you notice in this relationship inspire you the most? The next question is what interactions in this relationship hurt you the most? I want to speak a little bit about both of these before we go any further.

    There’s something that is existentially important in your answers to these questions. This is why we get the most hurt and the most inspired precisely in the places we care the most. The places we care the most are the dominant themes of our lives and our personality. They are what I call our core gifts. It’s those parts of our psyche that influence our behavior most powerfully. Because they’re so central to our emotional, spiritual DNA, the way we relate to them determines our self-esteem more than almost anything else. It also determines who we’re sexually and romantically attracted to. I speak about that. I’m not going to speak about that in this episode, but it’s something I speak about a lot in my work.

    If you, or any of us, want to create a useful user’s manual for the relationship you’re focusing on and for you, it’s so important to become increasingly familiar with the answers to those two questions for yourself but also for your loved ones. These tender parts of ourselves and we’re going to get to my asking you the question about the things that hurt the most in a moment. These tender parts of you are highly active in your closest relationships. I call them core gifts. They’re like fingerprints. At first glance, it seems like they’re like everybody else as everyone wants respect, independence, love, safety. We all want those things.

    DDP
    Questions About Relationship: Your unique genius and deepest ability to give and receive love lie in the things we get the most hurt and the most inspiration.

     

    On closer reflection, we want different facets of those in different ways. What’s important to one person is not as important to the other and vice versa. The things that are highly charged for us, another person might not realize how much these things mean to us. We might not even honor how much they mean to us. That is one of the deepest components of self-love is to recognize the things that are deeply charged for us and matter so much. Learn to hold them with what I call cupped hands with honor, with treasuring.

    Your Unique Genius, Your Truest Self

    These are the parts of ourselves that feel the most vulnerable. Those are the parts that it feels most urgent that we feel seen, understood and appreciated. There are also parts of ourselves that we are the most easily likely to hide and cover – up because it’s better not to be disappointed. When we do that, we’re living a life that loves bounces off of us instead of having this deep permeability to love. Within these qualities, these things where you get the most hurt, and you feel the most inspiration, lie your unique genius, and also your deepest ability to give and receive love. What I’d like you to do now is think back on your past experiences in this relationship.

    I want you to think about the moments that you have felt micro hurts or major hurts. These simple moments, as well as the moments of inspiration, can tell you worlds about who you are, who your loved one is and what matters the most to each of you. When we see that in those reflections, there’s a feeling of truth. Not necessarily this sense of grand universal truth, but a sense of personal truth. This touches me where I live. This really does hurt me. This really does cause me to wilt, to shrink, to pull back, to retreat, to be angry, or this really does make my heart feel full and filled, joyful and peaceful.

    What I’d like you to do now is to take a moment and now think about in this relationship the kind of things that hurt the most, macro and micro. Not for the reason of vilifying this other person, but for the reason of understanding what the hurts are so that you can be a better custodian of your heart in this relationship, and hence in every relationship. Take a few moments to do that. You can again pause the recording. Now I just want you to take a moment and think about the themes that emerged again and again, the things that gave you joy when they were met and honored, the things that caused pain when they were not. When you take the time to notice these themes, it’s like a connect the dots kinds of puzzle.

    The more you understand and appreciate the precious parts of your loved one, the more they will feel loved and valued by you.CLICK TO TWEETYou connect the themes and you realize that a few themes come up again and again. What emerges is a picture of your truest self. These are the things that matter most in an intimate relationship. It really affects me when someone can’t share their vulnerability and I’m going out on a limb. It really affects me when someone doesn’t stand for me when it’s hard and scary to do that because I do that for other people. When I see someone being brave and creative in the face of adversity, when I see someone being kind, when it would be just as easy, or even easier to be not so kind, these things kill me. They move me so deeply. If you take a moment and think about the things that hurt you the most and the most regularly, and that fills your heart the most regularly, you will begin to see the themes of you, the true colors of you.

    I want to say something about joy here. It’s something I’ve talked about a lot in different episodes. Often, we pass over our moments of joy instead of relishing them. It’s a journey to be able to comfortably sit with our joys. I know for me that that’s been one of the biggest challenges of my life is being able to bear joy in a quiet, non-quaky way. Often, we feel uncomfortable or unworthy in the face of our moments of expansion or inspiration, then we try to minimize our good feelings like, “Everybody feels the same thing,” or immediately we parry the joy with a self-deprecating way of thinking that minimizes the positive that we just had, because inspiration can frighten us. It makes our defense quake.

    It invites like a superstitious fear that the other shoe is going to drop. For most of us, we can bear joy only for a few fleeting moments, then it quickly turns into a critique or assessment or analysis. I know that’s true for me. The task of thinking of those small joys, not as nice moments, but as portals to something incredibly precious, incredibly big, incredibly important. That’s a different way to think. We minimize our hurts too. We tell ourselves we’re being too sensitive. We say that all the time or that we’re supposed to be the bigger person. We do not want oversensitivity to make everything worse than it is. We don’t want that. It’s good to be a bigger person when we feel like we can.

    If we don’t honor our hurts and listen closely to the truths about their relationship and about us that they’re trying to tell us, we are going to keep repeating the same patterns in this relationship again and again. As you learn to listen to the things that feel wrong, you learn to hold and treasure and appreciate and express your appreciation for the things that feel right, your relationship turns richer. If it’s a romantic sexual relationship that opens the door for more sexuality, more sensuality, more embracing a deeper sense of radical intimacy. The same is true of non-sexual, non-romantic relationships, a more radical intimacy where we feel cared for and so willing to go out on a limb for the other person. You’ve done this exercise now. I want to encourage you to allow yourself time to process it and reflect because in going through that, you have now touched on some of the most precious, important and influencing parts of your being. That’s a big thing. You can imagine what would it be like to walk through the world honoring those parts of yourself, the inspirations and the hurts, honoring them more fully and richly.

    DDP 82 | Questions About Relationship
    Questions About Relationship: There’s almost nothing better in a relationship than learning each other’s language and change. The more this happens, the more joy and connection is possible in that relationship.

     

    What Is In You That Inspires Others?

    We’re moving on to part two of this exercise. This is hard but fabulous. You’re going to redo the same process for your loved one. You’re going to try to place yourself in his or her or their shoes and imagine how he or she, or they would answer the same questions about your relationship. The first one is, what do you think in you inspires this person? Maybe they’ve told you, maybe you have to guess, but take a minute, you can pause this again, and list the things that you think inspire them about you, that they need about you, that they rely on from you, that they look up to, that make them feel safe in the world, that make them feel inspired in the world, that make them feel taken care of. Do that now.

    This is a good one. It’s hard, but it’s a good one. If this loved one would have to articulate the ways that they felt most hurt in the relationship. I just want to say again this is an invitation to you to take on your most beautiful and important intimacy lessons. I know it’s hard. I know it’s humbling. That’s part of the beauty of this journey because anything you take in and go, “I can see that I have hurt this person I love. I can see that I have missed their cues. I can see that I haven’t seen their deepest self,” all of those things, those are good. Those are gold. When you see that, even though you feel pain, I believe that you will be filled with a sense of goodness and quiet.

    Because you’ll know that you’re doing the beautiful work of intimacy that you need so much. Take a moment. You can pause the recording and think about this. What would be the micro and even macro hurts that this person would say? Be brave, dive in, take a few moments, minutes, to pause this and then answer those questions. Think again about what this person in your imagination said and what were the themes that emerged again and again. The more you understand and appreciate these precious parts of your loved one, the more this loved one will feel loved and valued by you. The more there’ll be of this hardcore sense of that true growth, that feels so good when you and the other person begin to learn each other’s language and change. As you know, you need to change. There’s almost nothing better than that. The more this happens, the more joy and connection is going to be possible in that relationship.

    Thank you so much for doing this brave exercise. I imagine you have a lot to think about, a lot to hold and just these simple questions are such an act of grace, “Where is my loved one being hurt? Where are they being inspired? Where am I feeling hurt? Where am I feeling inspired?” They’re such glorious questions. Another gift in them is that you will tap into a native joy inside yourself. The more you do this and live this. I want to say another thing, which is that if some of this stuff is truly deeply wounding for you, that your partner has done or that you have done, that will take more work. That will take more talk. That will take a conversation after conversation. It could take years of work.

    As they say, relationships are a process of rupture and repair. When we’re willing to do the repair work, that is such a wonderful thing. The more you do this exercise, the deeper your own selflove is going to become. Please try this exercise. You’ve probably just tried it. You can do it again and again, but I’d love it too if you went to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click Ask Ken and share any experience, any insights, any reflections that you had with this process, with our community. Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to seeing you next week on the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 5 Questions That Will Illuminate Your Path To Love [EP081]
    These 5 questions truly will illuminate your path to love. Just answer them as you go (no need to write anything down), and by the end of the episode, you will understand some of the most profound truths of your life journey and your search for love. In the words of Chip Conley, “A question, thoughtfully conceived, can illuminate a room, a company, a life.” Let’s do this together!

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    5 Questions That Will Illuminate Your Path To Love

    Answer Them As You Listen, And Watch The Shifts Happen Inside

    Chip Conley, a brilliant business person and the Founder of the Modern Elder Academy says, “A question thoughtfully conceived can illuminate a room, a company, a life.” Today, I’m going to ask you a few questions that will illuminate your intimacy journey and your search for love. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and of course, the host of this show. I’m happy to have you here today. I’m going to be talking about five questions that will illuminate your search for love in some quite amazing ways. This week and every week, I share with you the greatest tools and insights I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to

    DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn more about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey and you’ll find transcripts of every episode there as well. I also want to say that I am now launching something that you can go to DeeperDating.com to find out about it and what it is, is a whole new way for single people to meet online, in a way that is warm, inspiring, emotionally safe and fun. We’re just beginning, but if you want to go to DeeperDating.com to learn more, we would love to have you be part of this wonderful experiment in a wiser, more inspiring online dating. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, I just want to say, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that.

    In this episode, I’m going to ask you five questions. These are questions that are built to help you understand the richest, deepest, most essential themes in your entire intimacy journey and your search for love. With that also, the richest deepest themes in terms of your own journey to selflove and self-understanding. Those are big claims, but you will see as we continue why these claims are very real and very true. What I want to encourage you to do is answer the questions as we go. Whether you’re driving, running, or just sitting down, I would encourage you not to wait because they’re deep questions and you just want to enter into this. We will take you into it deeply, bring you out the other side, and you’ll have pretty glorious insights along the way. Maybe you’re that kind of really organized person that you could say, “I’m going to come back to this and do it later.” I know I’m not that person. My suggestion is not to make a fuss about it, but just jump right in, answer the questions as you go. I’m going to answer some for myself too as an example, and then later, if you want to do it in deeper ways, feel free to do that. One other thing that I just want to say is that part of the questions I’m going to ask are pretty profound. They’re going to be about parts of you that you thought you had to hide, which you are now learning to instead embrace on your intimacy journey.

    Answer these 5 questions to understand your entire search for love in a new way.CLICK TO TWEETFor some of us though, that entails trauma, and I want to encourage all of you, if you feel these questions could activate trauma responses that are hard to deal with and hard to bear, do this with a therapist or someone who you trust to be able to help you get through this and get to the other side. This is for people who’ve experienced trauma and might have PTSD symptoms around questions like that because we have to honor our places of trauma and we have to protect ourselves and be kind to ourselves. If you’re not sure, you can go along with the process. If you hit a question that just feels like too much, don’t answer it until you can get the support that you need. Let’s jump into these really fabulous questions.

    What Is A Part Of You That You Thought You Had To Hide To Make It Through Your Childhood?

    We’re, this is going to be very much starting with is when you were younger. We’re going to be doing sets of these illumination questions a lot in the future on this podcast, but now we’re going to start with some childhood stuff and then move it into the present. Here’s a question, “What is a part of you that you thought or felt or believed you had to hide in order to make it through your childhood?” I’ll just give you some examples. For me, there was a quality of intense sensitivity and vulnerability that was like way too gay and mortifying for me, and also not fitting in with what a boy was supposed to be, not fitting in with what a boy was supposed to be in my family of Holocaust survivors and our family ethos about what it meant to be tough in order to survive. This deep sensitivity in me that was explosively loving and extremely tender and very magical was something I had to really protect and hide. I grew a kind of shame around it for myself. That’s me.

    For you, it might have been a quality of power or fierceness or independence. Maybe a quality of sensitivity. Maybe a creativity that was like wild and careening that got you in trouble, but whatever it was, this kind of like a very essential part of you as a kid that you knew the world was not going to see or get or honor. Take a minute to think about that. You can say your answer out loud if you’re all alone, just do that. Take a minute. You can pause the recording right now and just say your answer or you might want to write it, or you might just want to think it. Again, I encourage you just go for it because you’re going to learn some great things unless it feels too emotionally loaded to be doing right now and then I encourage you to respect that. Do that right now.

    Who Gave You A Sense Of Hope That There Could Be A Place For This Part Of You To Be Honored, Safe, And Appreciated?

    Here’s the second question, “Who in your childhood gave you a sense of hope that maybe there could be a place for this part of you in the world? Maybe this part of you could be honored, could be safe, could be appreciated, could be mentored, could be empowered?”. Who in your childhood gave you that glimpse, even if they weren’t intensely in your life? Edward Hallowell, who’s just a hero of mine and a brilliant thinker about ADHD, about intimacy. I’ve interviewed him before and I hope to again. He spoke about having a really difficult childhood, but there was one teacher who saw his gifts, and he said, “You know, even just one teacher can be enough to bring somebody into a really rich and good life, even if they didn’t get that from their family of origin.”

    Maybe it was an imaginary person. Maybe it was someone from history. Maybe it was a saint. Maybe it was someone you invented. Maybe it was a pet. Maybe there was no one though from your childhood that you had that with, but you had it later in your life, but someone with whom this part of you, they got it. You felt like, “This part of me has value. It can be seen. It can live in the world.” Take a minute now and think about who that person is. I’m going to ask you again to pause the recording. You’re going to think who this person is, and then you’re going to do something. It’s something I do a lot. It’s an important part of this illuminating your path process. You’re going to thank this person. You’re going to put words on what it is that they gave you.

    DDP 81 | Path To Love
    Path To Love: There are parts of you that you think you have to hide, but you have to learn to embrace them on your intimacy journey.

     

    For me, it was a woman named Naomi Sheldon. I was twelve years old. I went to my violin class and she was sitting there. She was older. She was like in her twenties and she had a singing class. She was a poet and she met me and she got that I was a sensitive kid with a big heart. She remembered all the pain that she had been through being that kind of person, but something that she said that intrigued her about me was that I seemed like a pretty happy kid, which may be on some level I was. She wrote a poem about me. We became friends and she became a mentor. She brought me to the theater. She taught me that I could live as an artist.

    No one had taught that to me before in that way. Even though I came from an art family, but that I could live like an artist. In other words, feeling things that were so deep and so wide and so explosive and so tender that there was space for that and that it was actually a gift. That was me, but I would like you to think who this person is. I’d like you to pause the recording. I would actually like you, out loud or silently, to put words on your gratitude to this person.

    Tell them what they did for you, how it changed you, and also talk about the part of you that they rescued or allowed and the role that they played. Just take a minute or two to do that or three and then you can start the recording again. Just give yourself that gift because when we know these people who saw what I call our core gifts and let us know that there might be a place for them in the world, that’s really big. That’s really seminal for our life journey. I’m going to talk about why with the next question. Go ahead and do that now.

    How does that feel? I bet it feels good. It’s a really important thing to do. These intimacy heroes, these core gift heroes in our life. Here’s another thing. I am a student of intimacy walls because I have had so many intimacy walls and still experience my intimacy walls. They really mattered to me because of the loss of love that they cause, which really I feel. I’ve had to do tons of thinking for my own life and then as a therapist and in my intensives, intimacy walls are what I work with. Those are the places where we feel like they’re impenetrable, they’re impermeable. The thing that I want to say and this is a rich formula, whatever it is, that quality was, that you picked out to the degree that you feel like it won’t be cherished, you will put up walls.

    These walls will be what they call primitive defenses, meaning that they’re frozen, they’re automatic. It’s like a deep down part of ourselves that does it to protect us. The more we treasure these parts of ourselves, the more we’re brave enough to live them in the world more freely, of course, appropriately, and in ways that are safe because it can be a scary world. The more that we inside ourselves have rid ourselves of shame and celebrate these wild, sensitive, passionate parts of ourselves, the more we do that, the less we will need primitive walls against love. The more shame we have over these parts of ourselves, the more we will erect walls against love that we won’t have control over.

    The more we rid ourselves of shame and celebrate our wild, sensitive, passionate parts, the less we need walls against love.CLICK TO TWEET

    “How Do You Put Up Walls To Protect This Part Of Yourself?”

    That’s a question that I want to ask now and this is first iteration. Maybe you’ve thought about this a lot before but if not, don’t worry about it. This is first iteration. You’ll be thinking about this a lot more, I imagine, afterwards. You can see that these questions illumine your whole life story in a way. How would you put up walls to protect this part of you? When you were younger, when you were older, when you date, how would you in the past, how do you even maybe now put up walls to protect this part of yourself? Because it’s smart to protect this part of yourself.

    The more you learn how to dignify it and champion it and honor it, and be amazing enough to stand behind it, even when the world doesn’t get it, the less you will need walls, until then we need walls. As we grow, the conscious journey is to deconstruct the primitive walls and create and rewire new ways of behaving that honor and treasure these beautiful parts of ourselves, and then only choose people and situations where these parts of ourselves can grow and flourish and shine. Take a minute to think about this one. How do you put up walls to protect this part of you? You can pause the recording and just kind of speak it out again.

    Who In Your Life Today Sees These Parts Of You That Allows You To Feel Safe, Treasured, And Cherished?

    I know this is a deep one, folks. Next question. This is a wonderful question. Who in your life today sees these parts of you, allows you to feel safe revealing these parts of you, treasures and cherishes these parts of you, respects these parts of you? I want you to just think of those people and I want you to thank them. We’re going to do the same thing again. You can just pause the recording and speak it out loud or write it or think it. I want you to just think of some of those people. If there is no one like that, I have two suggestions for you. The first suggestion is when we’re not used to people like that, we sometimes don’t recognize or notice them. They’re like invisible because they’re so different from what we picture life is really like so we don’t recognize it.

    I’d like you to think in your Facebook friends, in whatever kind of contact list you have, I know for me, this was a really big and important question. I had to look back through my current and past life to find out who were the people with whom these parts of me felt safe because I had to develop a taste for those people because for me, I thought they weren’t spicy enough. I thought that they weren’t exciting enough. There was an excitement wiring that happened to me around people that didn’t really accept me. It’s a deep internalization of the people who stepped on these parts of me and the parts of me that believed that they were right to do that.

    I had to relearn like, “Who are these people?” Maybe they didn’t seem so spicy at first, but maybe I would find that their edge came from their intelligence, or their fierceness in living, or their deep integrity. There were other kinds of edges or their radical gentleness, even when it’s hard to be gentle. There were other things that could be really exciting and spicy for me and I could learn to develop a taste for those people. I’m just sharing my story because when I finally did that, that my world became filled with love.

    DDP 81 | Path To Love
    Path To Love: The more shame we have over some parts of ourselves, the more we will erect walls against love that we won’t have control over.

     

    Take a minute now and think who were the people, just think of 1 or 2 people who really stand out for you, just at this moment and thank them, articulate what they give you with this and thank them and just do that. I mean, you’ll love this because it feels so good to do this. If you’re someone who still says, even after reflecting back on other people, you might not have noticed that there’s no one, then your work is in front of you because I promise you that those people are there and that they are your path to happiness. Your work is to find them and you might need help and support to do that. Take a minute now, press pause and go ahead and enjoy that.

    How Could You Allow This Part Of You More Of Its Genius In The World?

    Now, we are on our fifth and last question, and the question is this. “How could you allow this part of you more of its genius in the world? How can you allow this part of you more dignity in the way that you live? More leadership because this part, I believe, is connected to your mission and to your greatness and to your capacity for magic in this world. The messages that come from this part of you are messages that the world is hungry to hear, or at least parts of the world are hungry to hear.

    Their messages and ways of being that when you find your one, that person is going to feel like they found home because of these very parts of you. Take a minute and just think, “How could I let the genius of this part come out more? How can I treasure this kid inside me more? How can I give this wild, kind of very unique, very different, very challenging, but very amazing child inside of me freedom to really create and to be and to live in a bigger, richer way?” Take a minute and pause and just put words on that.

    Those were your questions and I imagine that they’re going to be questions that are going to ripple and bang around and rock around and just touch you and affect you and affect your thinking and help you understand your path or one aspect of your path and your journey just a

    little bit more richly. It was a joy to get to do this with you. I want to encourage you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and click on Ask Ken, and you can leave a message about what this exercise brought up for you or what you learned from it. I always love hearing that. Some of those, I might read out actually in the podcast. Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • 3 Powerful Hacks To Help You Find Love Online [EP080]
    These powerful hacks are designed to help you find love online more quickly and with less pain! Each will help you learn important lessons of dating and love, and all of them will support you in becoming someone who loves more deeply and more wisely. Join Ken Page in this episode and you’ll finish it with a much richer understanding of your own next steps in your intimacy journey.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    3 Powerful Hacks To Help You Find Love Online

    Online dating is a powerful way to meet many new people, but it sculpts behavior that actually leads usp away from real intimacy. Stay tuned to this episode to learn how that happened and how you can extract the good from your online dating experience and avoid the harmful.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Show. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, and the host of this show. I’m glad to have you here. Today, we’re going to talk about really transformative hacks that you can use to change your experience in online dating. This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy and those are certainly the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life. If you want to learn more about this approach, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com.

    Online dating sculpts behaviors in us that actually push love away. Here’s how to change that.CLICK TO TWEETThere you can get transcripts of every episode. You can learn lots more about my work and hear about other ways to work with me and other people’s work that I really respect. I want to say that everything I talk about here is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice, and if you’re experiencing any serious psychiatric or psychological symptoms or conditions, please seek professional help. Also, I want to say that it is greatly appreciated. There are such beautiful, amazing reviews on iTunes and elsewhere, and I thank you so much. If anybody would be interested in leaving a review, that’s always a tremendous gift.

    Online Dating

    We’re going to jump right in. In 1995, that was the advent of online dating. With that advent, the world changed. The number of matches that people can experience is different now than it was in the old days. The numbers are huge. They’re vast. I think there are something like over 18,000 swipes a second on Tinder and billions of matches made over time on all of the different sites, literally billions. The number of matches is astounding that we can now have access to. Interestingly, in 1995, about 42% of Americans were single. Now, 45% are single according to Pew and according to the census. Obviously, there are a lot of different conditions that relate to that.

    There’s a lot more cohabitation that goes up consistently. There are social factors that change things as well. However, the number is so significant of how many matches are made and it’s so significant how fewer marriages there are now. That’s got to say something and we need to look at why. I think a big part of why is because online dating excels in generating matches and it fails miserably in creating an environment of real intimacy. What is intimacy? As I understand, an environment of intimacy that will help people meet is a quality of warmth in the interaction, quality of emotional safety in the interactions, and in the platform, a sense of fun because fun is a big deal and a sense of inspiration.

    DDP 80 | Finding Love Online
    Finding Love Online: Online dating excels in generating matches but fails miserably in creating an environment of real intimacy.

     

    The Swipe Generation

    Somehow, there’s some kind of structure where you can get to see the best parts of people and show them the best parts of you. I’ve been working very hard with my husband to create an alternative site that allows that, and we’ve just launched. It’s called DeeperDating.com. Do feel free to visit that site because that’s going to be growing. I want to talk about this dilemma in online dating. I want to talk about it from two different perspectives. I want to talk about it from the perspective of the swipe generation.

    I was quoted in the Times a while back about what I call swipe circuitry. I’m going to talk about that in a minute. I’m going to talk about those of us who awere using swipe apps, some of the pitfalls, and how to get around those pitfalls because they’re significant and they’re illustrative. They teach us something important about intimacy. I want to talk to all of the folks that are not using swipe apps and websites, particularly people who are a little bit older because we have a very different experience. I’m almost 64 and I’m married, but I relate.

    We have a very different online experience than people in their 20s and 30s. I was just listening to some research about this. It turns out that 70% of college students who use Tinder have literally never met anybody and they haven’t wanted to because some huge percentage does Tinder, does theise swiping apps for two kinds of blended reasons, boredom, and distraction. That’s one reason and the other reason is a kind of dopamine drip like the kind of self-confidence boosting feelings of having somebody express interest in you. That’s the level of removal that we are living at. I’m going to talk about that in a little bit.

    I think that also as we get older, we don’t experience so much this wild, insane proliferation of matches. As we experienced not enough good matches and a kind of dry terrains or just like a lot of jerks out there or people just looking for hookups, which everybody experiences in online dating. I want to talk about all of these situations, these two major categories, and I want to offer some tools and some insights that kind of universalize into the entire intimacy journey. First, I’m going to talk a little bit about what it’s like for those of us who are getting older and are not doing that swipe thing.

    The truth is as you get older when you reach a certain age, you do not get as many matches. That’s not true for everyone, but it’s true for a lot of people. I want to acknowledge that as a reality. I want to say two things. One thing is that as we get older and we’re using online dating, which is a great thing to use, it’s really important to look for and try a number of different sites. Particularly as we get older, we get kind of clearer on what we want and what we don’t want and we want sites that help us filter. This is for everybody, by the way. We want sites that help us filter things like values, passions, interests, involvement in the world, things that show a deeper character. Some websites allow you to do that kind of searching for deeper values and passions and interests. That’s a great thing. You want to look for that. Even the giant behemoth sites like Match allows you to do a lot of different filtering and you really do want to do that.

    Online dating tries to sculpt a world of numbers, immediacy, and superficiality. It works as a business model. It works because it keeps people interested and we need to use the tremendous gift of online dating, which is the number of possible matches and connections, but we want to do it in a wiser way. We want to occupy and take back the online dating experience to extract the value from it. This is the meta point that I want to make and it’s around all of this. Everything is kind of a microcosm of a bigger picture of how we do things.

    How we eat tells us a lot about who we are. How we relate to people tells us a lot about who we are. How we date online tells us a lot about who we are. We’re interfacing with an environment that in some ways brings out our most immature and superficial qualities because it focuses so much on numbers. That’s very illuminating because we can see, “What am I doing in online dating that is not from my place of deepest intimacy, that is not from the place of my core gifts or my gifts zone?” Whatever that is, is going to work infinitely less well.

    As we get older, we get clearer on what we want and what we don’t want.CLICK TO TWEETWe can all, just like we can do in any arena of our life, and this is an incredibly worthy thing to do is to say, and this for everybody, “How am I using online dating in a way that is acting out some patterns and some habits that I know are not my highest good, are not my highest self?” Maybe they’re based in judgmental ness or impatience or irritation or a quick sexualization of experiences. Whatever it is, all of us can look at it because we all have clay feet when it comes to love. All of us do. Those of us that can admit it areis gold because that’s just an act of growth and commitment to goodness, and that commitment to see the ways in which our habits keep us away from love or don’t allow love to flourish. That’s intimacy greatness when we do that, and that’s the main ingredient that’s going to keep our relationship alive as things get difficult and rocky.

    Harville Hendrix, a teacher whose work I deeply respect. He says, “There comes a time in every relationship where the thing you most need from your partner is the thing that they are least able to give you.” Often, we think that’s the end of love, but it’s not. It’s the beginning of love. That’s the beginning of the deep character shift work that both of you do together that creates a future that’s based on solidity, commitment, integrity, and the wonder of mutual growth. Every way in which you have clay feet, every way in which you’re doing online dating in a way that is not the most intimate, those are things to notice because if you address them here guaranteed in your next relationship, in their own iteration, they will show up in different ways and you will have gained skills to address that.

    Online Dating Behaviors

    What are some things that people do in online dating? What are some examples of this? Having worked with so many clients and havings been aon online datering for so many years, I think that one thing that happens is we get jaded. I think that’s a huge thing. The research here by the way is interesting. It says that, “Because of the huge quantity of connections possible in online dating, our behavior is sculpted so that we are less likely to really appreciate and value the people we meet because there are so many more people ahead of us.” This is a very silly example, but I think it relates. A while back, we‘re able to get a whole bunch of Clorox wipes for the house. We were hoarding every Clorox wipe at the beginning of this pandemic like, “We’re going to be so careful with it. We’re going to use it again.”

    All of a sudden, we got in this shipment of Clorox wipes, which at that point was kind of a little miracle. All of a sudden, the packs started disappearing. My husband said to me, “This is thean abundance problem.” I said, “Yeah, it’s true. We are treating these Clorox wipe packages as so much less precious because we have so many of them now.” That’s human behavior, but when human behavior melds with an environment that is built to keep putting new people in front of us to the degree that people actually, and I think most of us or all of us know this experience, of looking around but only being half there. If somebody doesn’t call us immediately because they’re really hot, sexy, spicy or attractive, we move on.

    Picture that you’re at a party with a small number of people and you’re sitting on the sofa. There are 4 or 5 people around you. Remember those days when we were doing that. Let’s say one of the people is someone who you might be able to be interested in. You’re watching them. You’re noticing them. They wouldn’t have instantly appealed to you, but there are qualities in this person that you find sexy, funny, or wonderful. You noticed this person because it’s just a few people. You never would have noticed this in a big crowd. The same thing happens in online dating, but at any given point, there are vast numbers of people. When people don’t super spark our interest, we move on. When we’re bored and we’re just trying to get a little tiny dopamine drip going, we move on, we move on, we move on. When we don’t move on and we reach out to someone and they respond back, a lot of different things could happen.

    One is now it’s becoming work. Now, it’s gone from, “La la la,” just like looking through who’s going to be amazing. All of a sudden, it’s work because it’s work to meet a new person. Unless they’re completely your exact type and research shows that often those people turn you on that much because they embody in part the worst characteristics of your primary caregivers, and you’re wanting to go back to the scene of the original crime to finally get loved right. Barring those people, those super exciting total, like, hotties, we often bypass people.

    Slowing Down

    We don’t take the time because there are all of a sudden so many choices that we could make and this is a powerful online dating hack. It’s to slow down. It’s something I’ve talked about before, but I’m going to be talking about it in a little bit of a different way now. Slowing down because every one of those people who isare anywhere in the range of, “Maybe if I liked this person’s voice, I could be attracted,” or “If this person had a nice body, I could be attracted,” or “If this person was smart, I could be attracted,” or who knows what?

    In other words, people who, like, you don’t instantly know, “I’m totally hot for this person,” but somewhere potentially in the ballpark. You feel like, “If I really liked them, I could picture they’re in the terrain where there could be a spark.” All of those people, we don’t have time for, we bypass them because it takes work to reach out. It takes workito takes vulnerability. It takes work to set up a phone call. It takes work to set up a date and God knows these days, it takes more work to do that. What I encourage is that we slow down and we look for character qualities because, I’m telling you, and I’ve said this before,. Wwhen we make the choice that we are only going to be with someone who inspires us with their goodness, their integrity, and their solidity, our world changes, and future changes.

    There are some smart people who know that, to begin with. Usually, they’re the ones who are in good relationships, but there are the rest of us that don’t know that. We think we know it, but we learned that we need more discrimination. That’s why I teach the main question being, “Does my soul feel safe with this person?” I get emails from people all the time thanking me for this one particular insight and this was actually the insight that Oprah excerpted from my book. It’s that we’re looking for circuitries of attraction of inspiration, where we’re attracted to someone, but we’re also attracted because of their character, their goodness, their decency, their presence, their availability, their willingness to be present.

    DDP 80 | Finding Love Online
    Finding Love Online: Because of the huge quantity of connections possible in online dating, our behavior is sculpted so that we are less likely to appreciate and value the people we meet.

     

    When you find somebody like that and they’re good, decent and they’re interested in you, that’s happiness in love. Sometimes it doesn’t feel quite as spicy in the beginning. Sometimes it feels wonderful, but then as you see the person’s not going anywhere and they’re really interested and they’re just playing decent, you start thinking that they’re boring. This is a deep one for me and I was single for decades because of that. What I came to realize is that that initial feeling of what I

    call boringness, which is the lack of an edge, a scary edge, if it’s replaced by fierce, and brave, integrity, creativity, intelligence, intrepid ways of thinking and communicating and living. In other words, if there is some edge there, but it’s like a fabulous, healthy, adventurous edge instead of a cocky, nasty superior edge, which I used to be drawn to all the time. As we learn to change our tastes, our future changes. It’s important that we use our online dating experience to do that as well.

    That means a few things. It means slowing down. It means filtering for these qualities that interest you. It means that when you’re biding time or wasting time, you realize that everyone you’re bypassing could have been one of those 4 or 5 people on the sofa that you could have ended up having a relationship with. These are all precious beings and when you can slow down enough to say, “I’m going to have to go slower here. I’m going to start by filtering to make my odds better. I’m going to slow down and I’m going to see the human being here. I’m going to budget the time because we have to budget the time to meet these people. I’m going to try not to drop the ball and get to know them.” You will know pretty quickly if the person has qualities of integrity. You will know if they have qualities of jerkiness. You’ll know that really quickly. If they pass that gate, you’ll get to the next gate. You’ll communicate with them. You’ll see what kind of beings they are. If they inspire you if they touch you if you like what they say, and then you’ve gotten to the next gate.

    I want to say that younger people who are doing swipe circuitry and older folks who are doing more like websites, all of us have to do the same thing. We have to see, “What are the kinds of predispositions I’m going in with that block intimacy?” Why don’t you take a minute, everybody, and just think? You should be able to figure this out, “What am I doing that is not of the highest place of intimacy? Because I get so seduced by the numbers and immediacy of online dating or I’m jaded, annoyed, and disappointed that I go in with a wall up. I go in and don’t put the time in or the care and I let people go.” These are all huge learnings. You might want to just take a minute and think about what’s true for you.

    This is how we gain wisdom. I’m telling you that that wisdom changes our future in love. If you can figure out some ways that you could bring a little more wisdom and a little less habituated, unhelpful behavior to your online dating, you will see a difference. I want to hear about what that difference is, so you could go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, you can click Ask Ken and you can leave a message. I get wonderful messages and questions from people who are using these simple, basic intimacy, wisdom techniques, and seeing shifts happen and having questions about what comes next. I want to encourage people to do that. I want to hear from you. What did you learn about what you could do differently in your online dating experience?

    How we relate to people and how we date online tell us a lot about who we are.CLICK TO TWEETThat’s going to help so many people and I’m going to share the things I hear. Everybody who could do that, I would so appreciate it. Call in, you can use this “Ask Ken” icon in DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You could speak whatever it is that you want to say about where you get stuck. What are some habituated patterns that haven’t been helping you? What are you trying differently and how is it working? Because that’s going to be crowdsourced intimacy gold. Thank you all for reading. As always, it’s a joy to get to connect with you. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. I encourage you to go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com,  join my mailing list, leave a review if you like. Have a wonderful week.

  • The Single Greatest Resource In Your Search For Love [EP079]
    There’s a resource in our search for love that trumps absolutely everything else: it’s our intuition! But sometimes, what feels like intuition is just bad judgment laced with really clever rationalizations! How can we learn to trust our intuition more fully and wisely? And how do we know when we’re better off not trusting our gut? Learn more in this important episode.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Discover Your Greatest Resource In Your Search For Love

    And How To Know When To Distrust It!

    What’s the single greatest resource for us in our search for love? What’s the one big risk in trusting that resource? Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, the author of the book, Deeper Dating, the host, of course, of this podcast and the Cofounder of Deeper Dating Online. I am so glad to be here with you. Today, we’re going to be talking about the single greatest resource in your search for love, and the one risk in trusting that resource.

    Lots more on that in a minute. Every week, I’m going to be sharing with you the greatest skills and insights I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. If you want to learn more about this approach, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com to get a transcript of this, and every other episode, and to join my mailing list and get a free gift. I also want to say that this is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. I also want to say that if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful thank you to subscribe and to leave me a review. Thank you for that and let’s jump in.

    Our Intuition

    I really do think that the single greatest resource that we have in our search for love is our gut-level sense of what feels right and what feels wrong. It’s a powerful and profound thing, how we don’t listen to that and some of the voices that we have inside us that tell us not to listen to our discrimination.

    Our voices like these, “You’re too sensitive. You want too much. You ask for too much. You’re not strong enough. You’re not feminine enough. You’re not masculine enough.” All of the different voices that we use that are an act of quiet violence against our being and against our discrimination. What we see in our country today is a vast amount of people not trusting the discrimination voice inside of them that says, “Our administration is corrupt, is unsafe, is being led by a narcissist with values that I would never, never want to teach my children.” I see this in so many ways and in so many different dimensions in my role as a coach and as a therapist.

    So many times, people are in relationships that are what I call attractions of deprivation. I hear the same lines, “But he was only joking, he didn’t mean that. But other partners would do worse things. He’s better than my last partner. No, I think I’m just too sensitive. No, I know he shouldn’t have acted that way or she, shouldn’t have acted that way, or they, shouldn’t have acted that way, but I also know that I did this and that to spark that bad behavior.” All of the ways that we oppress ourselves when our guts say, “Something is wrong here with the person I’m dating in terms of their character.” This is something I say all the time.

    I quote Hara Marano, my dear friend and the advice columnist of Psychology Today, when she says, “There are three Cs that we need to remember that are keys to finding healthy love. Those are Character, Character and Character.” We feel it inside when there’s a sneakiness. We feel it when there’s dishonesty. We feel it when there’s a cutting-edge of coldness or cruelty, even if it’s subtle. With some people, they’re very skilled at demeaning us. It almost feels like a paper cut where when it happens, you don’t even feel it but afterwards, you go back and you realize that really stung. Just like with a paper cut, you might not feel it right away but then you realize it’s stinging.  Our discrimination tells us so much more than we give ourselves credit for.

    In dating, how do we know when to trust our feelings and when they lead us astray?CLICK TO TWEETWhat I’ve been talking about in this portion has been our discrimination of what doesn’t feel right. There’s also our discrimination about what does feel right. What does feel like what I call an attraction of inspiration? An attraction of inspiration is one in which you’re not hooked because you’re trying to get the other person to behave better or love you fully. You’re hooked because of the person’s goodness and decency, because of how they inspire you, with how they treat you and who they are in the world and that is quite simply the path to happiness and love. It’s very binary. When we choose integrity, goodness and generosity over sneakiness and dishonesty, selfishness, lack of ability to give and lack of ability to commit. When we make that decision that we are only going to choose those qualities of inspiration, only, only, only.

    First of all, it’s brave as hell because all the voices come up that say, “Then I’ll never be with anybody,” but the truth is that when we tell ourselves that, what we’re really saying is, “I have to go against the intuition and judgment that I have inside, that cringes at certain things, that feels really off about certain things, that knows I don’t want to be treated in this way. There’s a grave, grave kind of repercussion to dishonoring our own gut-level sense of what feels good and what doesn’t feel good. When we make the decision that we are only going to pursue people of wonderful character who treat us really well, who make our hearts and souls feel safe. I promise you, no matter what your age, no matter what your life circumstance, I promise you that those people are out there.

    When you make that commitment and you shut the door to the things that just feel off in terms of character to you, and you only search for the things that feel inspiring in terms of character integrity, availability, when you make that choice, your future changes. Those are the people who you meet, who years later, still are so in love with their partner and it’s mutual. You feel the joy and the amazingness of what they’ve created. Those are attractions of inspiration. Those are the only ones that can last and grow in that beautiful, beautiful way and we’ve all seen both kinds of relationships.

    There’s also a grander, more meta-level of this, which is that when we learn to dignify those things that make our heart feel safe and we learn to discriminate around the things that make our heart feel unsafe. When we learn that skill, we finally understand our core gifts. We finally understand our unique genius. We finally find a user’s manual to this ongoing, absolute, beautiful mystery of who we are. There are certain arenas where we cannot trust our intuition or discrimination as well and I’m going to be talking about those in a few moments, but I want to say more about this way of living that I’m talking about. This way of dating and this way of looking for love and building love and being intimate because in an intimate relationship, there’s a constant process of what’s called rupture and repair.

    DDP
    Trusting Our Intuition: The single greatest resource that we have in our search for love is our gut-level sense of what feels right and what feels wrong.

    We cannot repair the micro and sometimes the macro ruptures that happen in an intimate relationship if we can’t trust ourselves and find words for what doesn’t feel right. Here’s another thing. When we don’t trust ourselves about what doesn’t feel right, it’s a kind of violence against our authentic self.

    Violence begets violence. It’s either going to be violence against our self where we trust ourselves less and less and sabotage ourselves in a variety of related ways and/or we become passive-aggressive like that thing of pushing a beach ball down and it’s just underwater and it just doesn’t stay down forever. Our needs and our truth still get spoken, but they don’t get spoken with kindness and clarity. Without kindness, we meet resistance and wounding. Without clarity, we are profoundly weakened when we can’t speak the truth of what we’re experiencing. It’s that beautiful thing that I say all the time from the 12-Step Program, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it mean.” There’s a lifetime of learning. just in that.

    These are the things that happen when we dishonor our discrimination. Here’s an exercise that I talk about a lot that you can do anywhere and everywhere, but you can certainly do it on a date., Which is you’re with someone and here’s what’s going to happen. Your head is going to be having whatever chatter it has, and that chatter is going to be focusing on something different or focusing on a whole range of different things, some valuable, some less valuable. When you drop down from the chatter into the place of, “What am I feeling in my inside? What am I feeling deep down? What’s the weather like inside my heart, in my interactions with this person?” We noticed that there’s going to be vastly valuable information when we drop down to that level, and that’s that level of deeper discrimination in our connecting with other people.

    What Do We Do When We’re Stuck

    Now, I’m going to talk about something that is another kind of aspect of our intuition that’s a huge, huge deal, and that is, what do we do when we’re stuck in our dating life? What do we do when we’re stuck in our romantic life? What do we do when we’re stuck in a relationship? Of course, we’re going to get stuck in all those ways lots of different times because this is life. It’s supposed to happen and it’s at those crossroads that wisdom is built and created, or defensive patterns are reenacted and strengthened. What we want to do at those charged crossroads is enact new patterns based on wisdom, truth, self- honoring and kindness to our self and to other people. It’s a whole rewiring that’s so preciously important, but it’s not easy to do.

    This is the piece of intuition where when we live in a way that we’re honoring who we are, we are permeable to the breezes of inspiration and insight and intuition that we wouldn’t otherwise be. We’re walking down the street and we’re in this place, which I call the gift zone, where we’re connected to the beating heart of our humanity. We don’t have to be right there, but we’re not too far from it, and that’s the magic zone. That’s the zone where amazing things come from. We’re walking down the street and we’re in that zone, and we have an insight about someone we love. We have an insight about our career. We have an insight about our health. In that kind of space where there is space, where we’re somewhat focused but also just in a kind of looser place. There’s just a lot of wisdom that can come at those moments.

    When we’re frightened, our fear masks itself as intuition.CLICK TO TWEETI actually teach a process in Episode Three, which I call perhaps the greatest practice of all to help you speed your path to love. It’s called the Inner Mentor Process™. It’s a beautiful process to tap into that deeper wisdom, to those kinds of breezes of inspiration. I do it every day and it helps me to get out of struggle focus and into gift focus. Every day, it reminds me of the good things. It reminds me of the through-line of what I’m trying to create. Today, I was thinking that kind of my life is I like to lead it like doing Parkour, which God knows I can’t do, but that experience of kind of having a gap between you and what you want and you have to jump to the nearest ledge of what feels right and good. There’s this leaping that has to happen when you’re creating your own path in the world because there’s not a path marked for you. You have to leap from inspiration to inspiration. I think for me, that’s a wisdom lesson that I learned just today from my inner mentor about how to live my life around certain big professional choices that I’m making now.

    I deeply encourage you to listen to Episode Tthree. In a nutshell, what it is, is picturing the person you are born to be like the unfolded you. The you on the other side of all of your inner glass ceilings. This evolved enlightened version of you. You picture that you and then you do a fantasy where you become that you, and then from that place, you look at the you of today and you call out messages of guidance and wisdom from the heart of that place. I can pretty much promise you that you will bypass almost every drop of self-criticism and the streaming messages that you will get will be just beautiful. I do encourage you to check that out if you’d like to do that. All of this is under the category of being able to listen for inspiration, because life is so hard and love is so hard and love is again made up of so many challenges and conundrums, and encounters where you and the person you’re with are speaking very different languages.

    This is so much the heart of love. If we can kind of jump in that Parkour kind of way from our moments of inspiration, “I get what was going on there,” or “I see what was in their heart that I didn’t see before,” or “Now, I see why I felt the way I felt. I’m honoring that. I’m understanding it.” These are the messages of inspiration. No matter how good your dating coach might be, no matter how good your therapist might be, and I say this as a dating coach and as a therapist, I don’t think there’s anything to match the native beauty of your inner mentor and your own inner intuition.

    When To Distrust Your Intuition

    Now, I want to say something about when it’s a little riskier to trust those voices. When it’s riskier to trust those voices is when there is trauma, when there’s really highly, highly charged material. Absolutely, if there are any untreated or undertreated psychiatric conditions and absolutely, where there are addictions. These are places where, as wonderful as our intuition is, it can’t necessarily be trusted. I’ll share one story with you. In the early days of AIDS, I was so worried that I was infected and I was way too afraid to get tested because it was a death sentence then. It was scary and I was young. Of course, it was deeply terrifying, but I was too afraid to get tested

    DDP
    Trusting Our Intuition: Love is made up of so many challenges, conundrums, and encounters where you and the person you’re with are speaking very different languages.

    I remember one night having a dream, and in this dream, I saw a bottle that was filled with the HIV virus tipping into my body and I knew that the retrovirus had begun its actions inside my body. I knew this so deeply. I felt it down to my bones. Now, I ended up being HIV negative, but when I woke up that morning I felt like, “Man, this was my intuition. This couldn’t have been anything other than my intuition.” When we’re frightened like that, our fear masks itself as intuition. When we’ve been traumatized, if there’s an arena where there’s trauma, and all of us have been traumatized to different degrees, and they say that there’s ‘small t’ trauma and ‘large T’ Trauma. All of us have had a lot of ‘small t’ small trauma and many of us have had ‘large T’ large Trauma in our lives. One of the hallmarks of trauma is that our thinking is impaired when we’re in the throes of that trauma. It’s like when you hit your funny bone and your entire being is activated. You can’t really think straight for a moment. I mean that’s a very benign example of what PTSD is like or what it’s like to feel the reverberations of trauma because that’s such a deep, deep thing. When we’re experiencing trauma, that’s a place where our intuition will be shut down. One of the hallmarks of trauma is black and white thinking. If you find you’re stuck in a place of deep either/or thinking, there’s probably some trauma there.

    In intimacy, so many of us have been sexually abused or violated or had boundaries crossed and so for so many of us, there’s trauma in that way. So many of us have been traumatized by our cultures and attitude towards sex. So many of us have been traumatized around our gender identity, our sexual orientation. These are all the arenas where there’s a lot of trauma and where there’s trauma, our natural capacity to hear real wisdom is dramatically reduced. In the 12-Step Program, they call these areas neighborhoods in your mind where it’s not safe to be alone and that’s what these spaces are. These are spaces where we cannot really trust our own judgment and we know because we’re triggered. When we’re highly triggered, that’s the time not to listen to our gut or our intuition, but to know that in the majority of cases at a time like that, our thinking will be skewed by our trauma. Our thinking will be skewed by an intensity of charge that we have around a particular subject. In psychotherapeutic terms, they call that overdetermined. It’s got extra pressure toward a certain direction.

    There’s another arena as well and I’ll talk in a minute about what to do about this, because we all have many areas like this, and it’s an act of wisdom to know, “Maybe here, I can trust my intuition and there, I need to get some help and support.” Another arena is in the arena of addiction. If we have any significant addictions, we will not be able to trust our thinking or our actions until we address that and become sober and not what they call white- knuckling sober, but sober with support. Because what happens in those cases is that every time, we hit a point of rupture, we instantly go back to whatever the substance or behavior is to help kind of medicate our pain and our suffering. When we do that, we rely on that defense instead of having that deeper learning and growth of repair that has to happen.

    90% of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones who have a community of support.CLICK TO TWEETFor anybody who’s listening to this, who’s been saying, “I think I drank too much. I think I smoked too much weed. I think I have like maybe a porn addiction or a gambling addiction.” I would have to say that the greatest act of love that you could give yourself almost before anything else is to get help. I personally deeply believe in the 12-Step Program. I think they’re incredible and supportive, and I recommend them to my clients all the time, and I’ve used them in my own life. I think they are a beautiful, beautiful wisdom path, but there are many different paths out there. That’s something to be aware of. I say this to people all the time, if you have an active addiction, all of the lessons that I teach here won’t stick. You’ll end up back where you were because your thinking is not and your intuition will not be reliable or trustable. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but I just think these are important, important empowerment principles to really know. For all the places where we are just highly charged, the secret is to find, and there’s research on this that makes this really clear and really explains why this is, but the secret is to find a path around this stuck area that makes sense to you and feels wise and true, and then follow that path, but not alone, with support, with professional support, with peer support. Follow that path with support so that you can fail again and again and again in the company of caring people, and then pick yourself up and rewire again and again and again.

    Getting Help

    DDP 79 | Trusting Our Intuition

    Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy

    Ninety percent of people who try to change an entrenched behavior fail. The people who succeed are the ones most often who have a template that they believe in and some kind of community of support where they can kind of screw up and explore, screw up and explore. That could be as simple as a buddy that you check in with. In my book, Deeper Datingand in all of my courses, I always encourage people to have a learning partner because the deeper dating process is a kind of very systematized journey of learning the deeper, wiser approach to finding love, but it’s too hard for most of us to do it alone. I just want to say the vast importance of getting help, even though you just feel like, “Let me try again. This time, I know I can do it with my willpower,” but really, really, really, almost never. Willpower, when it comes to an entrenched pattern, is one of the weakest tools in our toolbox.

    As I always say, also for any of you who are experiencing significant psychiatric conditions that, I don’t mean mild anxiety, mild depression, I mean kind of more serious conditions that don’t feel stabilized. Please get the help that you need to stabilize those conditions because whatever path you choose to take because until you do, you’re going to keep reverting back to old patterns and you won’t be able to help that. These were the caveats, but they’re good caveats because they’re all about getting wisdom and support at those junctures where you know you need help. You will know, I think in many cases where your intuition has something really good to say because it’ll fill you with the sense of strength, wholeness. You’ll really sense that you’re not running away from the truth.

    There might even be like a salty kind of nitty-gritty quality of reality to it, but there’s a sense of hope and there’s a sense of direction. It gives you a fullness inside but you know it’s not hiding from reality fullness. It’s a fullness that really feels like a gift. When you feel that, it’s that richness. It’s a kind of very dimensional, wonderful feeling of richness inside, of intuition, of inspiration, of a connection to yourself. When you feel that, that is a really great thing and the guidance that you get in most cases will be really, really helpful.

    With the things that I described, the addiction, the psychiatric conditions, which are unstabilized or undertreated, the things that you might think are intuition often just feel like fear or defensiveness, or you feel really prickly, or you feel really reactive. Now, it doesn’t mean that you might not be right to feel those things, but what it does mean is that this is a place to get help.

    That’s a great thing of wisdom to know when we can trust and connect to this beautiful streaming sense of intuition and where we know that we’re just kind of screwed up and we really, really need the support of the people we love. I think those are the wisdom paths.

    I want to encourage all of you to take on this concept of tapping into the wisdom place in you. The place where you’re connected to the warmth and the beating heart of your humanity. Perhaps the inner mentor process where you envision the you that you’re meant to be, and you call out guidance from that place. The more that you trust those breezes of inspiration that you feel like, “My God, I’m getting something here. Something just opened up. I see something new. I have a new sense of hope.” The more you trust those and the more you create processes that allow for those pockets of inspiration, the richer your life will be, the more love there will be, and the more successful that you will be in your intimacy journey. Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • How To Know If You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love [EP078]
    How do you know if you’re progressing in your search for love? Dating is hard; there’s no question about that. But if you can actually see that you’re progressing, and if you have markers to prove it, that will ease and speed your path to love. In this episode, you’ll learn some of the greatest markers of growth and progress in your search for love.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Know If You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love

    These Key Markers Will Show You Where You’re Progressing In Your Search For Love

    How can you tell if you’re progressing in your intimacy journey? This episode will give you markers and tools to figure out your own answer to this really important question. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast,

    Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book “deeper Dating” and the host of this podcast. Today I’m going to be talking about how you can know if you are progressing in your intimacy journey. This week and every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love, grow love, and heal your life in the process. The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. We know that those are the most important skills of all for a happy and meaningful life. If you want to know more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. You can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and also get complete transcripts of every episode. We have created an online event for people to meet based on the deeper values and skills that we talk about in this program. It’s warm, emotionally safe, fun, and positive. Go to the website to learn more about that and to sign up if you like. I want to say that everything I share in this show is educational in nature and it’s not medical or psychiatric advice. If you’re having any serious psychological symptoms, please seek professional help. If you like what you’re learning here, thank you for subscribing and leaving me a review.

    Let’s jump right in. Many of you that are reading have committed to a journey of growth in your search for love. This is such a big thing because we’re taught that somehow, we should have this ‘it’, which means attractiveness, success in dating, and success in finding love. I guess some of us do have that, but the rest of us have to do some real work to rewire, shift, and grow. Take a wisdom path to learn about how we push love away and how we can invite love in. Those learnings are some of the most beautiful and strengthening learnings that we can have in our life. I consider this holy and sacred ground. I consider it some of the most precious and important learning that can exist.

    Growing As A Person

    Many of you have chosen your own path where you are exploring, “What does it mean to grow as a person who knows how to love? What does it mean to grow as a person who’s looking for love and who this time is really looking for healthy, real, sustainable, and beautiful love? What does it mean to be someone who sees our clay feet in love and is humbled by that realization of the ways that we miss signals, push people away, go numb, do unkind things?” Those of us who are humbled by those things and say, “I want to change them,” that’s why we’re here. When we start learning new skills and new insights, I hope that for you, this show is filled with insights that feel like wisdom, possibility, and an invitation to you tackling the climb of your own intimacy journey.

    Having that experience is a wonderful thing. It’s exciting. It gives a feeling of hope and it moves us away from that relentless and ugly current that tells us that we’re not acting masculine enough or feminine enough or we’re not flirting right. The issues are our hair, weight, glutes, and that we don’t act cool enough. We don’t have these pickup skills. All this crap that steers us away from love and towards self-loathing in an indirect and strange circular path. A little bit more about that – When we decide to take that path of fixing ourselves and fixing our packaging, when that becomes, “I’m all for looking good. I’m all for feeling confident in expressing that. I’m all for the joy of fun flirting,” I’m all for all of those things.

    Here’s how to know if you’re progressing in your search for love.CLICK TO TWEETWhat I’m not for is putting the packaging improvement first because that’s a soul killer that weakens us. It does something else too, a strange thing. When we take that path, “How can I fix myself? How can I make myself more attractive? How am I not attractive enough? That must be why I’m not in a relationship.” God knows I spent decades seduced by that. When we do that, we end up being sexually and romantically attracted to people who are not going to be available. This is a mystical thing to me. It’s something I talk about a lot. In my work with clients and in my intensives, I see that as people learn to value and treasure their core gifts, their attractions begin to change. I’ve seen this in my own life too.

    When we start by honoring who we are and learning to honor who the other person is and when we honor our sense of discrimination, those are the things that matter and work. Those are the things wherein our search for love become our discovery of self-love and they join together. In that happening, that’s when we learn the real skills of intimacy which are not, “How can I change myself and airbrush myself so that I’m more attractive? Who am I? Who is the other person? How can I be real? How can I treasure them? How can I treasure me? How can we honor each other? How can I say what’s real for me?” When we do that, when we do those things, our search for love unequivocally, absolutely, fundamentally changes. That’s a hard work miracle, but it happens.

    Looking For Love

    These are the great things that happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love. It sounds simple from here. It’s like a high aerial view. I’ve talked about this. It’s like looking at a map and 1 inch equals 300 miles so, “I go from here to there. It’s easy.” The map is right. That’s true, it tells you where to go. When you’re there on ground and following that, you realize that a road is closed because of a detour. Another road is closed because of a flood. Another road you don’t want to go down because it’s really, really unpleasant. There’s a much more interesting road somewhere else. The real path and these concepts that I’m saying are absolutely true. On the ground, it’s still hard, murky, confusing.

    DDP 78 | Search For Love
    Search For Love: Often the people you meet as you begin this journey or dive into the earlier stages of this journey are better than the people you were meeting.

     

    That period where we’re looking for love and we’re learning to live these changes, there’s still this period where it’s like, “What’s going on? When is it going to happen? When am I going to see the difference? When am I going to meet someone who’s not almost?” In this journey, I think what many people experience as they learn these lessons that we talk about here is the kind of people they meet change, but it’s a stepping stone thing. Often the people you meet as you begin this journey or you dive into the earlier stages of this journey  are better than the people you were meeting. You’re attracted and interested. You say, “This feels different. I get it.” You sometimes end up saying, “It’s not close enough.” They still have many of those old traits and they’re not working on them. They’re not addressing them. That’s because it’s a stepping stone process.

    This middle process is hard. When you enter into a tunnel and you’ve got the light from behind you, when you’re coming out of a tunnel, you see the light at the end of the tunnel. In the middle of the tunnel, how do you find the light and hope when you feel it’s a slogging journey? When it’s just so damn exhausting to try again or deflating to meet another “almost” person? How do you get through that? I’m going to talk about a few different ways. The first way that I want to talk about is this. A client once said to me, “I realize that no matter where I am and no matter what challenges I’m going through, the first question is always going to be the same. The acknowledgment and gratitude for what you have already and of how far you’ve come. The act of looking back from where you’ve been, seeing where you are, and seeing the arc of progress.” Incomplete still, but looking back and saying, “That’s where I came from.”

    Questions To Help You Think Why You’re Stuck

    Acknowledging the growth is a huge and important tool. We’re going to do that together because I’m going to ask you five questions. As you answer them, you will notice the ways in which maybe you might be still stuck in your journey or you’ll be able to acknowledge ways that you are progressing in your journey. If you’re feeling that you’re not progressing and you’re stuck. I’m going to give you a few questions to help you think about why you might be stuck. You might need to have some kind of intervention, tinkering, and shift. With that, you’re free again to continue moving forward. I want you to think about each one and you can answer it out loud or write it down if you want.

    Great things happen when we take on a conscious path to looking for love.CLICK TO TWEETLet’s start with these fabulous questions. The first question is in your journey, are you coming to understand and value your authentic self, gifts, passions, and your sensitivities more deeply? Are you, and think about that? Do you feel you understand and value your innate gifts, deep sensitivities, and passions more fully as opposed to thinking, “This is going to be too much. I’m going to get in trouble for this?” No one says you’re going to be romantically attracted to this. It’s too different and weird. Are you coming to treasure those parts and say, “This is who I am?” Take a minute and think about that. If your answer is yes, then that is truly something to cheer. It is something that will unequivocally shift the creation of the fabric of your future. It will shift the patterns of your future in good and important ways.

    I talk about two different kinds of the circuitry of attraction: attractions of deprivation and attractions of inspiration. That was the piece of my Deeper Dating book that Oprah.com excerpted. The ability to tell the difference and attractions of deprivation are attractions where the attraction is at least in part trying to get the other person to finally be available, do their part of the work, and treat you kindly with dignity and respect. There’s this passion for that because they’re almost there, but they’re not there. We can get lost in that forever. Those are attractions of deprivation.

    Attractions of inspiration are when we become sexually and romantically attracted to somebody because of his or her goodness, solidity, integrity, capacity, decency, availability, generosity of spirit and wonderful things. When we become sexually and romantically attracted to someone because of their goodness and their solidity and that’s woven in, we’re making the right choices. We are finally making the choices that are going to lead to a love-filled future. It’s a big choice point. That’s another question. Are you losing your taste for your attractions of deprivation and getting away from them more quickly? If so, that is something else to celebrate.

    DDP 78 | Search For Love
    Search For Love: When we become sexually and romantically attracted to someone because of their goodness and their solidity, we’re finally making the choices that are going to lead to a love-filled future.

     

    The third question is, are you increasingly following your attractions of inspiration? Are you noticing people like that more? Are you more interested in them? Are you spending more time with them? I know for me, attractions of inspiration used to seem boring. I love that spicy edge of an unavailable person. As I grew, I came to realize there’s a wonderful ancient Hindu saying that goes, “What we used to think was honey and then we realize it is poison. What we used to think is poison turns out to be honey.” I thought attractions of inspiration were the most boring thing that existed. I hated that I thought that because I knew that was going to get me in trouble, but I still thought it and I felt it. As I began to love attractions of inspiration more, my world changed truly.

    The fourth question, are you being yourself more in your relationships? There’s this wonderful saying, “Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.” That’s from the world of twelve-step wisdom. Are you expressing your authentic self more fully in your relationships? If your answer to that is yes, this is also wonderful. If you are doing those things, you are moving closer toward the healthy love you dream of. These things are light in the middle of the tunnel. The fifth question is, are you adding to this recipe of growth a nice dollop of bravery, getting out there, virtually or in person? These days, it’s more virtually to meet new people. I always say this, virtual venues or in-person venues with people who share your passions, interests, and values are probably the best place to meet.

    Questions That Will Help Explain Your Stuck Point

    If you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is a cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.

    Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETIf you’re online, you can filter people’s profiles by those things. Every question you answered yes to is cause for celebration. If you answered yes to at least two of those questions, the chances are good that your dating life is changing in significant ways. If you’re saying yes to more of those, maybe 3 or 4, it is possible that almost mysteriously you are meeting kinder and more available people and you’re more interested in them. Trust the path you’re working because it’s working. If you honestly feel that there are no significant changes occurring for you as a result of this inner work that you’re doing, there are a few questions I’d like you to ask. Usually, at least one of them is going to hold the key to explaining your stuck point.

    Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, is one of the weakest tools in toolbox; support is the most powerful.CLICK TO TWEETNumber one, are you in an actively abusive relationship of any sort? If you are, not only will you be being abused and hurt, which is profoundly depleting, diminishing, wounding, and traumatizing. There’s a secondary problem too. It’s a huge cost that come with these relationships. That is the deep-down belief that you somehow don’t deserve better gets reinforced every day you’re in this relationship. It gets reinforced every time you feel diminished by this person. In an abusive relationship, if it’s physically abusive and seriously emotionally abusive, get help to help get out.

    Don’t just get out because sometimes that could be dangerous unless you absolutely need to for health and safety reasons, then just get out. If you can get help in doing it, you will protect yourself in the process. I know somebody who has been in a relationship for a gazillion years. Her wife can be sharp-tongued and she hates it. My friend hates that. They have a deal and they’ve done this for many years. Every time the wife is sharp-tongued, she has to give my friend $0.25. No serious amount of money, but they love each other. As sharp tongued as her wife is, she’s a wonderful person and loves her. This works for them. I love that story. If you’re in a relationship where the abuse is not extreme, then that’s what needs to be worked on. It’s not okay for you to end up feeling diminished.

    Next question, do you have any untreated psychiatric disorders or any active addictions? When I say untreated psychiatric disorders, I don’t mean mild depression or anxiety, I mean, depression, anxiety, or other psychiatric conditions that destabilize you in regular ways from which you are either untreated or undertreated. You have not found a treatment that stabilizes you or you have an active addiction. If those things are true, none of this stuff is going to work or stick except to help get you into treatment at best. A relationship won’t be able to work until you address this. Stop and do that, make that commitment because nothing’s going to work until you do. There will be so much pain in not doing it and such a sense of mastery in tackling and addressing these things.

    Another one is are you doing this work alone without a learning partner or support? If so, it’s much harder. I would encourage all of you to find a learning partner. Somebody who will work with you and be with you as you learn your lessons of intimacy day by day and date by date. Who can listen, support you, and guide you in a way that’s not critical, but as warm and caring. I can’t tell you how important it is but the research backs it up 100%. I did a whole episode on this subject. Another one is are you resisting putting your heart into this work? That’s something to think about. In other words, doing it with gusto and diving into your intimacy lessons. I want to say it’s not easy.

    It’s humbling to say, “I see that I’m pushing love away. I am seeing my clay feet in this relationship or in the ways that I date.” This is one of the greatest things that we can give ourselves is that humbling acknowledgment. When that happens, we change. When that doesn’t happen, we feel ashamed and resistant to change. The last one I want to say, is there another issue, an old relationship you haven’t been able to let go of that’s blocking your progress? If any of these things are going on, I want to encourage you to take the brave step of getting support. If you’re stuck here, don’t try to fix it alone because your efforts will be much more weakened. Willpower, in cases where we’re trying to change personality patterns, it’s one of the weakest tools in the toolbox. Support is the most powerful. That’s a thought I want to share with you.

    In closing that in this phase, you might feel you’re stuck at some of the old familiar, creepy, sad, and frustrating crossroads that you’ve been at before in your dating life. Sometimes it might even feel like nothing’s different, but things are different. If you look more closely, you’ll see that you are coming to those old crossroads with a new set of tools. With a stronger sense of connection to your own gifts and hopefully with more support. At every crossroad, especially with support, you’ll notice that you’re making new micro shifts in your approach that have a little bit more self-love, self-dignifying, more passion, power, self-honoring, and kindness.

    You’ll notice these micro shifts and those micro shifts open new doors. When new doors open, that means that a new future is being formed, shaped, and sculpted. You’ll sense that something new is happening because you’ll feel glimmers of intimacy at points that once just felt like closed doors. Think about, which of these ideas hits you the most? The most useful is the most feeling like a guidepost for you. I encourage you to hold that to your heart, do something constructive and creative with it. Thank you for reading. I hope this was useful. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating PODCAST.

  • The Simple Question That Will Lead You To Love [EP077]
    In this episode, you’ll learn the simple question that will lead you to a future that’s rich in love, growth, and adventure. Ken Page will tell how that question led him to become a single father, and, years later, meet his husband! By the end of the episode, you’ll have a wonderful and empowering intimacy tool for your own life.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    The Simple Question That Will Lead You To Love

    And The Story Of How I Became A Dad And Found Love

    In this episode, I’m going to share a personal story about my own journey to find love and become a dad. I’m going to share a simple process that is life-changing in its beauty to help you deepen into your own intimacy journey. So stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.

    Hello everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page – I’m a psychotherapist and a coach, the founder of the new way to meet online – called “Deeper Dating”, and the author of the book “Deeper Dating”.

    Today, we’re going to talk about one question that you can ask yourself that will change the course of your entire intimacy journey. I’m going to tell a story about how that has been true for me. This week, and every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest skills that I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And if you’d like a transcript of this episode  you can just go to DeeperDatingpodcast.com, and if you go there you’ll also get a number of free gifts from me if you decide to join my mailing list. I also just want to say that everything I’m going to share in this  podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice or treatment. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.

    The Path Is Never Simple

    The path to love is really almost never simple. When we decide to pursue our longing for love, we’re led to challenges and possibilities that we might never have dreamed of. For me, the decision to become a father as a 40-something, single, gay man in New York City is what changed everything for me. In this post, I’m going to tell that story. I’m also going to offer a really potent exercise for following your own call to love wherever it is that that leads you.

    I saw this beautiful movie called “Infinitely Polar Bear” with Mark Ruffalo and Imogene Wolodarsky, who was incredibly brilliant. In this movie, Mark Ruffalo’s character suffered from very severe manic depression, but he was still able to build a life. It careened wildly but it somehow worked because he loved his children. It made me think about parenthood and how any deep love can turn us inside out. It asks us to change in ways that we might never otherwise have been pushed and forced to change and face ourselves, and forces our world to open up in ways that we never would have thought of or chosen on our own. That made me think a little bit about my story, which I’m going to tell you a little bit about.

    I grew up and came of age as a gay man in the 80’s in New York City. I grew up gay in the ‘60’s and the ‘70’s. When I moved to New York, it was this giant theme park of recreational sex, dating conquests, and wild and insane dance marathons. I was on a desperate hunt for love. Usually, that hunt was a complete failure to me. I failed again and again. I never stopped trying and I never stopped hoping. I didn’t try in the wisest ways, but damn I tried.

    The path to love is never simple. It’s fraught with challenges and possibilities that we never dreamed of.CLICK TO TWEET

    A Revelation

    In my early 30s, I hit bottom and I found myself doubled over with this terrible sense of emptiness. It had been growing inside me for all those years that I was pursuing my career, pursuing loves, and having tons of recreational sex. Searching for love in a way that was that was laid out for me by gay male culture in New York City, but completely wasn’t working for me. I realized at a certain point that I had spent all this time looking for love, but I was ignoring the process of building love in my life. That was a revelation and there were so many pieces to that revelation.  So many, kinds of moments of painful awareness, many moments of, “I’m going to become someone who loves. I’m going to be someone who can have a pet.” That was big for me. That was a complete revelation that I could be someone who could take care of a pet. That was a big step for me.

    I didn’t know what to do with this revelation when it came to my life. At this point, I had worked through a number of emotional issues. God knows there’s always more, but at that point I had worked through really big stuff. I built this cardboard box and I kept it in my room. It had a slot in it. I wrote something on the top, I wrote, “I can do whatever the fuck I want.” That was what the box said. Anytime I had a new idea about what might be exciting or important or next for me, I’d write on a piece of paper and I’d put it in the box. Finally, I stopped doing that because I had a million ideas but none of them called to me in that intense way that I was looking for.

    Then in 1999, I saw another movie. I saw Almodóvar’s movie, “All About My Mother”. In this movie, the protagonist had something very painful happen to her. It was only through caring for other people that she found a through line out of her suffering. I saw this movie with a friend of mine. It touched me in this really deep way. I felt shaken somewhere deep inside in a way that I didn’t have words. I said to my friend, “I need a minute.” I went out and I found some quiet space. I was asking myself, “What is this, what is this feeling?” All these jumbled emotions resolved into an answer, I wanted to become a dad. Even though I was single, gay and 44, and nowhere near rich, all of a sudden I knew what I wanted to do. I was filled with excitement and terror and a sense of adventure.

    Becoming A Dad

    For the next year, I thought this through. I careened between, “I am going to do this,” to the other side which was, “Am I out of my goddamn mind?” I had a hard time making a decision because I didn’t want to make a stupid decision. I wanted to make a wise decision. I didn’t want to do it based on fear but I didn’t want to do it without an awareness of what this would do to my life. I went through this. I tortured my friends and my parents. They were wonderful, glorious and supportive. They let me struggle with this. My dad who I’ve spoken about in another episode called Losing Love and Finding It Again. He was a Holocaust survivor. He was completely silent through this whole thing. He did not want to influence my decision.

    At one point, after about a year, he broke his silence that he had managed to keep. He asked me, “Ken, do you really want a child?” I thought about that question like I had thought about it a million times before and my answer was still the same. I said, “Yes.” My dad’s response was stark and simple. He said, “Then you have to jump.” We were on top of the Queensboro Bridge at that time. The city lights were like jewels and the height was dizzying. His words were what I needed to hear. After that internal answer, I began the process that led me to my son. Nine months later, the day that I left for Cambodia, I had my last visit with my grandmother. She died while I was returning home with my son, and my sister who came with me. Her very last words to me were, “Children bring joy.” She had a picture of my son that I had gotten from the orphanage. She would kiss it and say that. She was about 100 at that time.

    She was right. My life has definitely been complicated and challenging in ways that I couldn’t have dreamt of in being a dad. There is one part of my heart that has felt full in a different way and that has never changed. Not that it hasn’t been complicated with having a son who’s a teenager, but still and all that has been true. With all of the challenges, I’m still floored by the privilege of being someone’s dad. So this  huge detour from my dating life, because this is what I was focused on during this time, which was listening to the call of love for me, leading me to some place I hadn’t dreamt of. This giant detour from my dating life is what led me to my husband. I’ve talked about this before, but the story is that Provincetown Family Week is an annual event for LGBTQ families. I had never gone because I just felt like it was going to be too depressing to be surrounded by all these happy coupled parents.

    DDP 77 | Finding Love
    Finding Love: Sometimes, we spend a lot of time looking for love that we ignore the process of building love in our life.

     

    Two of my closest friends actually were aggressive with me and they cornered me. One literally cornered me and pressed me up against a screen door. She said, “You are going.” She had never done anything like that to me before and I thought, “This gal means it.” Someone else did the same thing a little less aggressively but very clearly, “You’ve got to go, Ken.” I decided I was going to go. I felt I had no choice in the matter. It was not what I was feeling like love was calling me to do. It was what people who loved me and knew me were calling me to do. That was close enough. In the face of their passion, I listened. It was there that I met my husband, Greg, who was the father of two children. We have been a blended family since that day, I guess it’s going to be 12 years ago, very shortly.

    Sometimes love calls us into worlds that we never thought we have to enter. When it calls us, our challenge and our adventure is to say, “Yes.” This might be something you want to think about, even right now. How’s love calling you? My friend, Conner Middelmann-Whitney, who’s the author of  Zest For Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet, a wonderful book. She told me a beautiful story. At her wedding, it was a Quaker wedding, this elderly woman stood up and she shared this simple question that she said is what guided her. It was like the lighthouse for her through a long and good marriage. She said that at any point in her relationship with her husband, at any point of bewilderment, crossroads, difficult choice or challenge in her relationship with her husband, she would ask herself this, it’s such a beautiful question, “What is love asking of me?” That question was a wedding gift for Conner and her new husband. This is a wonderful question.

    What Is Love Asking Of Me?

    I encourage you as we move toward the closing of this episode to try this exercise right now. Don’t wait for the right moment, do it right now. Take a minute and ask yourself, “What is love asking of me right now in my life?” It might be a quick and easy thing. It might be a huge epic thing. It might be a little internal shift. It might be an action that’s hard or scary. Whatever it is, this is our mastery path, is asking ourself that question and then inching up to a yes and living that. That is how we become strong, resilient and loving human beings. That’s how we learn to love and respect ourselves. When we do this, worlds open up for us, just like worlds opened up for me. If you even want to take a minute to think about this, feel free to do that. Whatever you came up with, that’s your guiding insight.

    Asking that question is a way of righting ourselves and  guiding ourselves in the world. It becomes our fabulous next. When it does and we say yes to it, we become people who love better. This is a path to joy. Our answer is going to define the next intimacy adventure in our life. Saying yes will lead us to a future that might be less safe but will be more filled with the love that we desire, and will help us move into a place where more and more we feel comfortable and empowered in our bodies and our hearts. This is a fabulous and simple micro-meditation. A question that you can take with you and live to become more the person that you dream of being and desire to be. Thanks so much for listening. Please feel free to visit DeeperDatingPodcast.com or our new website, DeeperDating.com. I look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

  • How To Discover Your Unique Intimacy-Genius [EP076]

    You can discover your own unique intimacy genius, and this episode will teach you how. In the following audio and blog post, you’ll learn tools to discover your deepest Core Gifts, and you’ll learn how to use those gifts to create powerful and positive changes in your dating life, your relationships, and your capacity to love and accept yourself more deeply.

    Table of Contents

    Watch the episode here:

    How To Discover Your Unique Intimacy-Genius

    Everybody has their own qualities of intimacy genius. They’re unique to each of us. Stay tuned to this episode to learn how to discover your unique intimacy genius, and to use these gifts to help you build and create more love in your life.

    Today, I’m going to share with you how you can discover your own intimacy genius. This week and every week, I’ll share the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. Those are the greatest skills of all for a happy rich life. If you want to learn more about deeper dating, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and learn how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey. We’ve just created a new online platform for single people to meet. You could just go to DeeperDating.com to learn more about that. And when you go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com  you will get transcripts of every single episode including this one. I also just want to say that everything I share is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious symptoms, please do seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thanks to everyone who’s done that already.

    Heart And Soul

    Let’s jump in. I would say the heart and the soul of the biggest thing that I have learned in my entire intimacy journey and in my work with people who are seeking deeper intimacy in their lives is that the parts of ourselves that we’re the most embarrassed by, ashamed of, don’t know what to do with, are the places of our genius. These are the places, parts of ourselves that I call core gifts. They are where our deepest capacity for brilliance in intimacy lies but they’re challenging because they’re qualities of genius.

    The skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love.CLICK TO TWEETThey’re qualities where we feel things extra deeply, where we notice things extra closely, where we think in ways that are different and unique. These are the parts of us where we feel the most deeply. In this world, we are often shamed for those parts of ourselves because they’re places of our intimacy genius. In this episode, I’m going to teach you how to name and discover yours and how to learn how to honor them more deeply. The changes that create are gorgeous. That’s about all I can say there. I’ll say a lot more about that. We’re given this cookie-cutter sense of what intimacy is. You have to look a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to act a certain way to be attractive to people. You have to be this way with your masculinity, this way with your femininity, this way with your flirtation skills and all of this crap that could be interesting and could be useful in some ways, but is toxic when it steers us away from our authenticity, the real self that we are.

    If we try to be these other things that we’re not, this is what’s going to happen. People who see our weakness are going to prey on us, or we’ll just find the wrong people. Later, we have to come out as who we are to them, which can be a very complicated thing. What I would propose is that from your childhood, you have had qualities that have made you feel different, ways in which you felt too sensitive or too intense, too demanding or too different. Those places are the places where our beauty and genius lies. It’s an amazing process that we need to go to the parts of ourselves that when we were teenagers or when we were older, we learned were shameful, embarrassing, awkward and different. We need to go back and reclaim those parts and discover the beauty and the brilliance in them.

    If you think for a moment about the ways that you have felt different from others, the places in which you had heightened sensibilities, take a minute to think about that. Maybe you felt the pain of disconnection more and you longed for intimacy more. Maybe untruth bothered you more than it bothered other people. Maybe there was a deep kind of tenderness of spirit that felt too soft for the world, or maybe there was ferocity and intensity that felt too big for the world. Take a minute to think about this and think then about the messages that you got that those parts of you were problems.

    The truth is those parts of us are problems because they’re demanding. They’re intense. They’re fierce. They feel pain and they feel joy in these highly charged parts of ourselves in ways that we might not feel it in other ways. They’re the most intense parts of our being and hence, we’ve often felt like they’re just awkward, but the key to this entire intimacy journey is that they are sacred. They are precious. They are the center of your being. The more we learn to honor those parts of ourselves, the more our entire world changes and the more our search for love changes.

    Discovering Your Intimacy-Genius

    What are these qualities that I call your intimacy genius, or also in my books and my courses, I call your core gifts? Some core gift qualities are the ones that I’ve already said – a deep sensitivity, maybe a longing for sensual connection that goes deep, maybe a sense that through our sensuality or through our spirituality or our honesty, we can make a big difference in the world. Probably growing up, some of these qualities were problematic to our peers, problematic to our parents or problematic to everybody. The hero’s journey is going back and reclaiming those parts of ourselves.

    I’m going to speak a little bit about how to do that. The questions that will help you identify your intimacy genius are two big important questions. I’ve talked about them before. They’re a big deal. One question is in your day-to-day life, as you walk through your life, “what things hurt your heart? What things make you feel horrible, in pain, broken, wounded or wake you up in the middle of the night? What are the things that pull at your heart? What are the things that hurt your heart that keep you worried, that keep you concerned?”

    DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
    Intimacy-Genius: Our different geniuses run on different fuels, and our great fuel is the things that inspire us.

     

    If you go through your days and you notice consciously the things that hurt your heart, if you’re like most of us, the first thing you’ll notice is that inner voice that says you are too damn sensitive. When we can push that voice aside and become curious and say, “Maybe I’m too sensitive, but I’m interested in seeing what this was that hurt me so much.” We realize that maybe it was an interaction with someone we love, which was not kind, where truth wasn’t being told or was a part of you that was not being recognized or that you weren’t recognizing a part of the other person. These things might hurt your heart.

    Many people have the experience of their heart being hurt when connection is broken. They say that intimacy is a process of rupture and repair. For many of us, when the connection doesn’t feel right, when it feels broken, that causes a great deal of pain. This is something that I am hypersensitive to. For example, I can be talking to my husband. I can mention something that hurt or bothered me that happened in the family or in an interaction that worried me or concerns me or didn’t feel right. He might not have noticed it with the kind of intensity that I did. He would notice other things that I wouldn’t notice, but those are my gifts. I feel connection. I feel a break in connection.

    Good connection brings me intense joy, breaks in connection trouble me deeply. These are qualities that I did not know how to manage growing up. I thought of them as sicknesses. I thought of them as weaknesses. I thought of them as things that did not make me sexy or attractive, but the truth is that they are who I am. As I learned to honor those parts of me, which is the honoring of those parts of ourselves, the de-orphaning of those parts of ourselves, the reclaiming of those parts of ourselves and naming them as valid as not too sensitive, but precious, real and authentic, that is a process of true empowerment.

    When we do that, truly our attractions change, our search for love changes, our relationships change and our understanding of ourselves changes. The other question is, “what inspires me, what things in my day-to-day life fill my heart?” It may be that moment that you’re reading the paper and it feels like a break. The sense of peace and expansion of not having to do anything (hand raised) fill your heart. It may be a sexual connection that feels tender, beautiful and full of love. It may be an interaction with someone you love that feels exquisite. It may be somebody doing something brave or bold or kind. This is a study of ourselves that is one of the greatest studies that we can do, which is to notice what fills our heart, what inspires our heart.

    These are two questions that are the keys to the deepest user’s manual of our lives. I encourage everyone to think about this and ask yourself on a moment to moment like, “Ouch, I feel pain.” What is this? What was that pain? How might that have been a gift place in me where there’s a deep sensitivity, a deep kind of compassion, a deep awareness? It hurts, but it’s a gift. We experience quiet joys, or bursting joys, or soft joys, or senses of gratification in our day-to-day life that we normally would appreciate and move past. We realize that they are more than pleasures. They’re portals to our deepest self. They are portals to places where we can expand into joy in very special and important ways.

    They’re portals too because as you notice the things in your interactions with people that fill your heart, move you, make you feel peaceful, expansive, inspired or excited, you will find patterns. Again and again, you’ll see certain kinds of things that create that feeling for you. When you know that you have discovered the fuel for your genius because our different geniuses run on different fuels. Our great fuel is the things that inspire us. I would also say our great fuel is the things that hurt us, especially when we dignify their joys, but also the things that hurt us by recognizing this is touching me in a place that is deep. This must matter. What’s the gift here? What’s the sensitivity? How is that a gift?

    The Challenge Of Authenticity

    We go around minimizing our joys and not realizing that they are deep portals and telling ourselves we’re too sensitive instead of understanding that these are the places that we care the most deeply, which are the most human and beautiful parts of ourselves. When we honor those parts of ourselves, the potential for joy, the potential for authentic closeness increases dramatically. I also want to say though that this is not all sweetness in life. There are pain and the things that hurt us. There’s a challenge in the things that give us joy very often. There are mountains that have to be climbed to achieve that joy.

    There are deep places we have to go to and touch to learn how to bear, and live with, the sadness or intervene in different ways to create healing where there was once sadness. These are big things. These are hero’s journey things. Recognizing it is not like pink paint. It is a challenge, but it’s the challenge of authenticity. The more we do it, the more we experience self-love and the more we experience people who are our happiness, people gravitating toward us. I know this to be true. I’ve seen it in my own life. I’ve seen it with so many clients that I’ve worked with and I believe that it’s true.

    To add a little bit to the complexity here, you’ve got a kid who is a genius. That’s going to be a kid who’s going to need a lot of special care, special guidance, special help with interesting challenges that they experience. You’ve got intimacy genius qualities and you do. All of us do. They need special care. They need special guidance. They’re not going to be easy. They’re not going to get right out of the box instructions that are going to be workable. It’s a journey to learn to listen to these qualities and what they want because they’re going to ask for things that challenge us and challenge the people around us. That is the truth. It’s a great truth. It’s wonderful. Who would not want to cultivate their genius?

    There are challenges in the things that give us joy.CLICK TO TWEETSome of the things that happen, these are the parts of ourselves, obviously, where the charge is greatest. These are parts of us that exist in our psyche, which are most highly charged because you’ve experienced most joy and pain there. They’re the most highly charged places. You want joy. You fear the pain and these things, whatever they are, their meaning dense, like nutrient-dense, these parts of us. They have huge amounts of meaning. What does that mean? Without guidance and in the process of growing up, we’ve probably done a lot of stupid things around these gifts.

    We’ve suppressed them. We’ve acted them out in unhelpful ways. Usually, we have a lot of car crashes around our core gifts, our intimacy genius, where we did not have the tools. The pain was so great that all we could do was act out. When a child is impossible, when a child acts out, it’s because there’s a pain inside of them so great that they don’t have the user’s manual yet. That’s the best that they can do. That happens for us as well. There’s a journey, and it’s a fascinating journey, of discovering our user’s manual. What’s the fuel for my genius? Who are the people with whom I feel at home showing these qualities, hence safe, hence happiest?

    How do I show these qualities in an intimate relationship? What are the problems that come up when I feel and show them? What are the wonderful glorious things that happen when I feel them and show them and share them and give from those places? These are all parts of our user manual? What’s the pacing that I need? Elaine Aron speaks about the highly sensitive people beautifully. She talks about understanding, for example, highly sensitive people might need to pull away from intimacy. I know I’m a highly sensitive person. I’m an “HSP”, as Dr. Aron calls it. I know that I need to pull away from intimacy so that I can breathe. When I come back, I come back richer and more connected, but I need to pull away. It’s like a rocking motion back and then forth.

    God knows I did not know this for decades. Every time I felt the need to pull away, I shamed myself for it. I experienced it as a fear of intimacy. I can’t do this love thing because I feel myself pulling away. I learned to discover that pulling away and giving myself space and grace did not mean that I would keep continually pulling away. It meant that I would come back with more of a full sense of self. I need to do that more than a lot of people. This is not a cookie-cutter behavioral pattern, but it’s my pattern. Part of my intimacy genius is how deeply I care about relationships, which causes a lot of issues and a lot of beauty.

    DDP 76 | Intimacy-Genius
    Intimacy-Genius: The challenge of authenticity is that the more we do it, the more we experience self-love, and the more we experience people who really are our happiness.

     

    Finding Your Most Beautiful Self

    I want to offer everybody an exercise as we move toward the closing of this episode. That is to take a couple of days and the journal and note the things that hurt your heart. I’m talking about the big hurt. Yes, but I’m also talking about micro hurts, micro tears, micro sadness. It’s to notice the things that cause them and to think, what’s the part of me being hurt? What is the part of me that is carrying so much? Which is another way of saying the same thing. What is it in me that’s being hurt? What made it care? Is it carrying so much? How is that a part of who I am? To notice these things and you will find that in these places where you care enough, that you get hurt, that’s your angel self. That’s your most beautiful self. That’s the Holy self. That’s the self that can have wings. That’s the self that has compassion, but it needs to be held with honor.

    These are tools that were not taught, but they’re the deeper, richer tools of authenticity. Another question is again, to notice the ways in which your heart is filled, and you write these things down. You take notes. Moments that you feel inspired, that you feel touched, that you feel a melty feeling that you feel maybe like a prick of tears in your eyes, that you feel your heart swell, that you feel a sense of peace, intensified meaning and spaciousness. All of those wonderful feelings, note them. If you can, and this is a fun thing to do, hold them a little bit longer and let them ripple through your being, knowing that they are portals that are meant to be.

    Also think, “What is this that brought me so much joy? What is it that inspired me like that?” I’m going to put words on it. There was an act of kindness that was being done that made me feel so good or someone listened to me about something very tender. What is this listening thing? Is that something that matters to me? Is that something I’ve been in pain about because people can’t do that? Is that something I try to give to other people because I know how much it hurts not to be listened to? You will begin to notice the things that bring that joy for you. It might be creativity. It might be a sensual expression. It can be so many different things, but notice those things and then think, “what’s the quality in me here that is captured by this joy? What’s the quality in me here that is being fueled by this experience that is bringing me joy?”

    As we do this, we come to know who we are and these are rich, complicated, beautiful lessons. When we can share this stuff with the people who love us. Our relationships deepen in incredible ways if there are people who are willing and capable of doing that richer and deeper form of connection. Where it feels like they’re holding our unique being with cupped, spacious, kind and seeing hands. Those people are our gold.

    Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I’m excited to get your feedback and what happens when you do this exercise, what you notice, what you discover, what it reminds you of, what it brings back for you. To share that, you can go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can go click on Ask Ken, and you can leave me a message that describes that. Some of your messages I’m going to be sharing so you can also tell me, “Can I use the recording?” or do you prefer that I don’t? Should I use your name? Should I not use your name? All of those are fine and I always honor that. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you in the next episode

  • Q and A With Ken: Expert Advice for All Your Questions About Love, Dating and Sex [EP075]

    Listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating and relationships to Ken – and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts.

    Once a month, Ken answers your personal questions about love, dating, sex and more. Today’s powerful questions include: The person I’m seeing is wonderful – but I keep wanting more! My relationship might be ending, but I want to keep it alive. I’m with someone great, but I wish I was more physically attracted.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Questions About Love

    Questions About Love

    Can friends with benefits be a good thing? I’m with someone great, but I want more from him. I found someone wonderful, but I don’t know if I’m attracted enough to make it work. These are just some of the questions that I’ll be answering in this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. All these questions came from you, my audience, so stay tuned to learn more.

    Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m the author of the book Deeper Dating and the host of this show. Today, I’m going to be doing a Q&A session with a lot of your important pressing questions about sex, love, and intimacy.

    This week and every week, I’m going to share the greatest and most important tools that I know to help you find healthy love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love. All of this episodes’ transcripts will be available on deeperdatingpodcast.com.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    If you go there and you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll get to hear about a lot of really wonderful resources. Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice.

    If you feel you need help with any serious issues, please do seek professional help. By the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. So thank you so much for that. Let’s jump in.

    So someone who I know has been following my work for a while called in and said, “I found a guy, and to anybody looking at our relationship from the outside, he’s treating me really, really well,” and then describes ways that she’s expressed what her needs are and that he’s able to honor those needs, listen, he’s deeply spiritually aware. He’s committed to love and kindness. He has a secure attachment style and it really feels like an attraction of inspiration, but she still constantly somehow feels deprived.

    She says, “I feel crazy. I constantly yearn for more connection with him. I want to ask him more questions. I want him to ask more questions about me. I want him to desire me more, to share that with me.”

    And she says, “I keep blaming myself because I have an anxious attachment style. I’ve shared that anxiety with him, and he doesn’t shame me for it or do anything to make me feel bad and he does try to adapt and communicate, but I just don’t feel like it’s enough.”

    A Yearning for Frequent and Constant Connection

    A Yearning for Frequent and Constant Connection
    Photographer: Toa Heftiba | Source: Unsplash

    She says, “I’m so afraid that I feel like this with anybody, that maybe this is just a wound and a flaw of mine that I crave so much communication. But I also wonder, could this be a core gift that isn’t being seen and honored enough, a yearning for frequent and constant connection?”

    So she’s asking, “Is this a core gift or is this an attraction of deprivation? Should I just get out now? I truly love this person and I’m excited about him, and I think he has so many great qualities, but I feel so terrible so much of the time. Please send help.”

    So, first of all, I want to acknowledge this listener for writing so powerfully from the heart and being so honest about this and being able to hold it in this kind of very open and questioning way. What I would say first is that, yes, absolutely, unequivocally, this is a core gift.

    This profound need for communication and connection, which I know you return and give the same back, is nothing but a gift, but it’s extraordinary and it’s intense. Probably on the bell curve, you’re really far in that direction. But that’s the sign of a core gift.

    These are the places we feel so deeply that we wonder what’s wrong with us. I have to say that so many people who talk about having an anxious attachment style actually have an incredible sensitivity to the nuances of connection and disconnection and feel anxiety when there’s disconnection.

    An Incredible Balance of Treasuring and Honoring the Flame

    That is, in many ways, a gift. Often people with secure attachment styles miss a lot of that subtle stuff that those of us with anxious attachment styles really feel and notice; and yes, these are gifts.

    So, but that’s not a Hail Mary pass because our deepest immaturities, our biggest struggles, our most defensive behaviors, our most disempowering behaviors swirl around our core gifts. The places we care the most and the places we feel the most, that’s where our holiness lives and it’s where our problems come up so often.

    So much of our life task is to learn this incredible balance of treasuring and honoring the flame of these core gifts, but also learning behaviors where we don’t hurt others, where we don’t hurt ourselves, where we don’t burn bridges, where we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and yet we stick with the fierce genius of our essential core gifts.

    Saying all of that, I just want to say to you, you found someone wonderful and that’s a big deal. That came from loads of deep inner work and that is something to be celebrated. To me, and I can’t speak as a seer or anything like that, I can just share my reflections. Those reflections are, “he sounds awesome, and what I would say is keep sharing your need.” Keep sharing your longing. I always quote Harville Hendrix who says,

    “Turn your anger into an ask. Do not shame yourself because when we shame our self for our need, our need turns into neediness and passive aggressive behavior.”

    The Language of Your Ongoing Connection Answers Your Questions About Love

    Part of the language of your ongoing connection is that his normal is different than your normal in these ways. As someone who is very similar to you and whose husband doesn’t have the same need that I have for this deep, intimate, intense, connected conversation, I want to really encourage you to just keep sharing your needs and making space for him and where he’s at, too.

    If he’s the kind of guy he sounds like, he’s going to be able to listen. There are going to be times it’s hard for him. He’ll let you know when it’s hard for him. Little by little, he’ll express his needs, too. What I would say is this sounds great and don’t shame yourself. Don’t stop yourself.

    The more you can express your needs, your longing, your desire in a way that has the spaciousness that allows for him to share his own inner language, and that inner language might be that that’s not where he’s at, at this moment, to have that deep conversation. But you could feel his heart is so with you, that he wants to be there for you.

    This is an ongoing evolutionary process, what I would say. But what I would say most of all is hold this as a gift, honor it. Speak it in a way that gives him space so that you can develop humanity and gentleness knowing that you are honoring this quality in yourself. I would say that a lot of people listening to this podcast have similar attributes of wanting deep, deep connection.

    Questions About Love and the Need for Deeper Connection

    Questions About Love and the Need for Deeper Connection
    Photographer: Yi Liu | Source: Unsplash

    That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re listening, and your needs might be greater than your partner’s. If your partner has a secure attachment style, they might be in a place where they’re just calm and content and fine, and you’re wanting more. There needs to be room for your wanting more.

    The more you do it in a non-blaming way, the more you do it in a loving and appreciative and asking way, the deeper the zone of intimacy you will probably go into with him. So give that a try, and if ultimately it doesn’t work, you’ll both keep talking about it and come to deeper, richer understandings.

    What I encourage you not to do is to shame yourself, keep it to yourself and tell yourself that you should be different. Because in my experience that never works and it leads to a chasm of disconnection that tends to grow and grow over time.

    I also hope that in your sex life, that’s a place, and in your touching life, and in your vacation life and times like that, those are times when you can really have that deep, deep, deep nourishing influx of intimacy that’s so precious and important to you.

    Next question is from a guy who’s in his forties. He says he’s out there actively dating women and he’s seeing a therapist, and the therapist feels that he needs to be learning about intimacy. He says he’s been listening to this podcast and totally loves it, so thank you so much for that. His question is that he’s just met a really awesome woman.

    Questions About Love and Physical Attraction

    The pros list is like 25 deep of all the woman’s wonderful attributes and only two negatives. One of them is he doesn’t know if he’s totally attracted to her and he’s kind of obsessing about this. His therapist says he needs to be learning about intimacy. He’s wondering, he says, “She’s probably, like in this scale of 0 to 10 of attraction, about a five or a six, and can that really grow?”

    He says he doesn’t want to be forcing something and he has to be honest. He’s beating himself up about this because he thinks, “This should really be easy, but I’m forcing it.” Meanwhile, his therapist is saying he should stick in there because he needs to be learning.

    He’s getting ahead of himself thinking, “Can I marry this woman?” So he’s asking for advice. Is this simple enough that he’s just not attracted enough to her? Or is it something he needs to learn to work through?

    I love this question, and I have a lot to say about it. The first thing I want to say is, eros cannot be forced. It’s got to come authentically, or you will just be causing yourself pain, and that’s not a good thing to do for either of you. So I really, really want to tell you if your attraction doesn’t grow and it stays at this level, and it’s just not enough, don’t beat yourself up for that because eros cannot be forced.

    The second thing is one of the greatest ways to dampen and weaken eros is to tell yourself you should be more attracted to someone. Tell yourself you should want to have sex with them more, et cetera, et cetera.

    The Freedom to Be Just as Attracted as You Are

    That is self-torture and it dampens and destroys eros. So the first thing I want to say to you is you really do have the freedom to be just as attracted as you are.

    Now that said, I got to say a few more things, she also sounds amazing. I just love hearing these stories about people who are in attractions of inspiration, and 25 amazing qualities, oh man, she sounds great in those ways. So here’s what I want to say. Back up on the sexual attraction issue, and what I mean by that is don’t force yourself.

    Don’t force yourself to do things that you don’t want to do. If it’s possible that you’re someone that has fled intimacy before in the past, if you’re someone who has been able to sustain ongoing healthy relationships, and you’re doing this deeper work, and now you meet someone who’s a real attraction of inspiration, expect that at different points your attraction is going to plummet.

    It’ll go subterranean. It’ll disappear. One time that that happens, and I’m not saying this is your situation, but it’s an important thing to know is that when our feelings really drop, really drop down in a good way, really deepen, our sexual attraction often takes a pause. It just needs some time to kind of like get in sync with the growing depth of our feelings.

    A Fabulous Combination of Skills

    A Fabulous Combination of Skills
    Photographer: Christian Wiediger | Source: Unsplash

    Also, when we’re with available people and we’re not used to that, we will have moments of panic and fear. If, at those times, we don’t allow for those moments and allow ourselves to breathe and we tell ourselves, “Well, I should be more attracted,” we will squash and diminish and compress a natural process of evolution and growth of depth of feelings.

    I’ve been there. I’ve done that so many times. So what I want to say to you is give yourself space. Don’t be more sexual than you’re ready to be at any given point. Don’t do that horrible thing of just telling yourself, “Oh God, I got to be more attracted.” Give yourself space.

    Think about the things you adore about her emotionally and enjoy those parts of her. Again, giving yourself space. Allow yourself to, in your mind, fetishize the things that turn you on about her physically, emotionally, ways of having sex that are really exciting to you. Allow yourself the room to play and to fantasize and to cultivate eros. It’s a fabulous combination of skills.

    It’s like the skill of thinking, “Well, what would really turn me on? No, I don’t want to do that yet, but oh, I could really picture just having our lips touch together for an extended period of time. Or touching her in this way or that way, or her touching me in those same ways.” These are just some examples and you let yourself have those feelings. You enjoy them, you build on them, and then you give it space and just enjoy this person.

    Cultivating the Tendrils of Appreciation

    My gut is that fear of intimacy is part of what’s going on here. But telling yourself you should be more attracted is only going to intensify that fear of intimacy. I would say give it space and also allow yourself to cultivate all the tendrils of appreciation, love, turn on, and take the pressure off and watch what happens.

    What you’re experiencing may be in part what I call the wave, the wave of distancing, which we experience when we finally meet someone who’s kind and decent and available and is not going anywhere, and our feelings kind of plummet, but that’s temporary. It’s like a wave. Because waves pass.

    So what I want to suggest is that you try these experiments and then come back to us and let us know what happens. If the turn-on doesn’t grow, give yourself space. But to me, if it’s a five or six, and if romantically you’re liking her this much, go with all the romance. Go with the five and six. Don’t pressure yourself but just enjoy it. Because once again, no matter what, this sounds like serious progress and it sounds like she is amazing.

    So the next question is from someone who had a Tinder date with somebody who she says “was really into me right after the match, which made me a little bit uncomfortable.” Then she says, “I just wanted to thank you because thanks to everything you’ve said in your podcast episode over the last few months, I allowed myself to trust my instinct.”

    Questions About Love and Honoring Boundaries

    So from the very beginning of the conversation, some things just weren’t right for me, but I thought, “Well, let’s just keep talking,” which is great and make it as interesting as possible, “and let’s share whatever we have to share,” which is great, giving it a chance. That’s me talking.

    She said, “But then the more he talked, the more I could tell that there were some values we did not have in common. I was starting to feel uncomfortable in my body. He pushed really hard and he wanted to have dinner over even before lockdown has ended,” which she felt was definitely not right and she said no.

    She said, “I felt really strong saying no to him. I was anchored in my response and I’m really glad, now, two hours later, that I trusted my instinct and that I set my limits and I honored my boundaries and I expressed those boundaries.” She said, “It’s such a good feeling. This is a matter of identity of boundaries and of feeling heard and respected. And I heard myself and respected myself in the presence of someone who didn’t feel right to me.”

    So she said, “I did not set up another Tinder date with him and no dinner by the river or anywhere,” and she feels really great about this and she just said thank you so much.

    So I don’t know what I want to say about this except celebration, and that act of really being able to honor our instinct when our instinct says, “No, I want less. No, I need space. I feel pushed,” and she said, “I don’t feel right in my body.”

    Your Questions About Love Require Dropping Down Into Your Body

    Your Questions About Love Require Dropping Down Into Your Body
    Photographer: Joyce Romero | Source: Unsplash

    When we drop down into our body, we learn so much when we’re with somebody. This is an exercise that I really adore, which is on a date, in a relationship dropping down into your body, into your gut. As we say in Jewish, your kishkas, your gut.

    Just notice what the weather is like in there and that will tell you so, so much. This is a way of living in your own intimacy genius. When we do that, we make so many better choices. How many of us have stayed in relationships that didn’t feel right because we didn’t trust ourselves or we listened to the other person as they told us not to trust ourselves.

    So three cheers to all of you. Actually, this is a fabulous question for everybody to think about right now. If you’re dating anybody or in your last date, what did you feel in your body? What was the weather like inside of you deep down, in their presence and with the chemistry between the two of you?

    This is a question that I always encourage people to put as their primary number one question: does my soul feels safe with this person? If you can say yes to that and if you’re with someone you’re attracted to and you’re connected to, that is just the most wonderful thing.

    So this listener, her soul did not feel safe with this person and she freed herself from the compulsion of having to be nice or do what he wanted and she said no, and she felt fabulous afterwards.

    A Powerful Way to Crack the Spine of Our Fear of Rejection

    I want to say one more thing about this. One of the most powerful ways to crack the spine of our fear of rejection, and all of us have fear of rejection, some worse than others, more intensely than others, is to say, “My goal is just to be me, just to be me, and to notice, ‘Does my soul feel safe with the person I’m seeing?’”

    If the answer’s yes, then this is really good. This is what I wanted. If the answer’s no, then it ain’t me and it’s not for me. I think this is a beautiful, beautiful process. When we do that, we worry a lot less about being rejected.

    So the last question, somebody said, “Ken, I wonder if you have any advice on the prospect of a breakup. My partner had brought up this idea a couple of nights ago, and it obviously feels awful, and we’ve been communicating and sharing with each other since then. She describes a series of really difficult events.

    One event is that they had a recent miscarriage just in mid-March and another is that his dog is in the process of passing away and that dog is now staying with his ex-girlfriend. His girlfriend, they were together for 10 years, and he’s still grieving that.”

    The person who is calling in also says, “I’m realizing that I haven’t been very supportive of his grieving process.” So she says, “I still feel hopeful and I feel like this could be workable, but it hurts and it feels like a very big mess. So do you have any ideas, any advice, any suggestions?”

    Tough Questions About Love in the Time of Grief

    What I want to say is that there is so much grief around this. Also, one piece I left out is she said that they got a puppy together, and at the same time as they got a puppy, which he felt was premature, he’s not only grieving his ex but he’s grieving the dog that is currently passing away.

    So I think that there are so many rich metaphors here, and I think that this is a hard situation because there’s so much pain to be processed. I want to honor, this is such a complicated situation, and I just want to talk about really complicated relationship situations.

    I do think after years of doing this work in my own life and as a therapist and as a coach, that when we stay hopeful, when we take the next right step, the way that I think about this is like a really horribly complicated knot. We look at it and we say, “Oh God, I can never figure this out,” but what do you do? You look at the first piece. You say, “What can open? What can move here? What piece of this knot can be opened up?” and you do that.

    When you do that, the knot tends to loosen to some degree. So I want to point out in what you wrote, one place that you were acknowledging a piece of the knot that you can work with, and it’s that you have not been that supportive of him with all of this tremendous grief: the grief of the miscarriage, the grief of the loss of his relationship of 10 years, the grief of the loss of his dog.

    Finding an Intimacy Treasure

    Finding an Intimacy Treasure
    Photographer: Ian Tuck | Source: Unsplash

    So you have an insight here and the insight is, “I could have seen him more. I could have made more space for him.” Now, whatever happens, you found an intimacy treasure in that knowledge and I would say go with that piece of the knot that you can open up and tell him that you recognize this and actually practice giving him more space. Now, this is at a very difficult time though, because he’s grieving and he wants to break up.

    Now, when someone says they want to break up, like Oprah says, she says, “Listen to what men say and listen to what women say.” If someone says that, he might really, really mean it. But I would say that there’s such a tangled knot of grief here that my big suggestion is to get help from a couples therapist.

    One particular kind of school of therapy that I think is really wonderful is Imago Therapy because it sounds like both of you have a lot of deep listening to do with each other. When we try to deep listen with someone we love in a place of pain, we deep listen for a period of time and then we veer off into our own circuitry.

    Imago Therapy, that’s spelled, I-M-A-G-O, created by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt is just one type of couples therapy, but it’s one that feels particularly right potentially on a gut level to me hearing this, for you to explore because you will both learn to do deeper listening and making space for each other. That’s a kind of very treasured thing.

    Working With the Pools of Connection and Compassion

    If there’s hope, it seems to me, the hope would lie in having there being space for the two of you and having you both be able to grieve. I just want to acknowledge, this was kind of stuck in there, but the miscarriage for you, and what about that grief? What about that grief? How has that affected you? Has he been there for you around that? What’s it been like between the two of you? So this is another question that I think is worthy of exploring. So those are my suggestions here.

    This is a very complicated thing, but if you can work with the pools of potential compassion and connection that show themselves and do that continuously over time, you’ll be moving in a direction of healing, no matter which way it ends up going. So I just want to acknowledge how painful and difficult this is, but also your commitment for wanting to keep love and keep intimacy and how much that matters to you.

    That’s all we’re going to have time for today. These are rich and wonderful questions. Recently, I’ve gotten in a big influx of new questions so I’m going to have to be doing another Q&A pretty soon. You can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com and click on Ask Ken, and leave me a message.

    If you feel comfortable with me playing the recording of your message, let me know that in the message and I will do so. So thank you all for listening. If you would like to join my mailing list, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.

  • The 5 Most Important Points In Early Dating [E074]

    The 5 most important points in early dating often decide the course of your romantic future. At each of these points, there are intimacy-skills that make all the difference in the world. In this episode, you’ll learn the key skills to navigate these crucial points with wisdom, self-love and bravery.

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Important Points in Early Dating

    Important Points In Early Dating

    There are five points in the early dating journey where there needs to be an infusion of a few wisdom skills. In this episode, I’ll tell you what each of those five points are and the skills that will help you move through those stages to help you be able to find the love that you are seeking. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to learn more.

    Hello, and welcome to the Deeper Dating podcast. I’m Ken Page, and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the book Deeper Dating and the host of this show. And today, I’m going to be talking about five particular points in the early dating journey where just a few skills can change your entire future in love and intimacy. And I’ll be telling you what those points are, and what those skills are.

    This week and every week, I’m going to bring you the greatest tools that I know to help you find beautiful love and keep it flourishing. Because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of intimacy. And the skills of intimacy are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.

    If you want a transcript of this episode, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. You’ll find it there. If you join my mailing list, you’ll find out about a host of free resources, and courses and classes. And you’ll also get a free gift.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    I also just want to say that everything I say in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice. if you feel you need help with serious psychological issues, please do seek professional help.

    Finally, if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could leave me a review and subscribe. Thanks so much for that. Now I want to jump in.

    So I think that there are five points that you could kind of think of as trigger points. Points that are super, super important, where there are choices that you make that affect the rest of your future in dating. Hence, the rest of your future in life.

    I want to point out what those points are. And then I want to say that what I really believe is that if we can kind of do a trigger point injection of just a few really important skills at each one of these five points, the degree of empowerment, and healing, and change that will happen can truly be profound.

    I constantly, constantly hear from people who are saying, “I’m experiencing relationships now that are intimate and connected, and warm and healthy.” Maybe sometimes people say it for the very first time and it’s because they are implementing these skills which are not Ken Page skills or Deeper Dating skills. They’re just the skills of love and the skills of intimacy.

    So let me share these with you.

    The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating

    The First Among the Most Important Points in Early Dating
    Photographer: Álvaro Serrano | Source: Unsplash

    The first point that I think is a really key point is an online dating point. It’s the creation of your profile. I just want to say a few things about creating your profile. What you want to do in your profile, and this is really important is to kind of show who you authentically are. Which means the things that matter to you, the things that bother you, the things that bring you joy. The things mostly that give you meaning, and that you have passion about.

    You want to describe yourself in a positive way. You don’t want your profile to be, “I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this.” Of course, it’s important to list the things that are just absolute deal-breakers. But we definitely don’t want to come from a jaded place in doing our profile.

    The main thing is that we want to reflect who we are. So if there are stories that you can tell about things that have happened to you or things that you’ve done, that really kind of relate to what you want to capture but what you’re looking for and what matters to you. That is a great thing to do.

    Don’t worry about being witty. Don’t worry about being funny, and charming, and writing this perfect highly polished profile. I mean, it’s nice to have a really nice profile. I am all for that and you definitely want to show that you put time and effort into it. But you can also show the real you, and that’s such an important thing to do.

    A Metaphor for Your Entire Dating Journey

    This is a metaphor for your entire dating journey. It’s that experience of saying, “This is who I am and I love it and I’m going to be this person. I’m looking for people who really, really like what I have to say. And anyone else just is not for me.” So there’s a huge metaphor there. There’s a universality to what you do when you do your profile because it’s like what you’re going to do when you do your dating.

    The other thing I want to say is that when you look for pictures, of course you want pictures that make you look really good, that show you in your best light. But find pictures as well that show you glowing. You with that kind of quality that the people who love you the most would see these pictures and say, “That is really you.” In other words, do not be afraid to show yourself.

    So this is just some points that I think are really important in writing your profile, that we don’t always get taught. We get veered down the direction that we have to be really witty, and really charming, and whatever else. So yes, authenticity in your profile written from the heart is a big deal. It will draw people who are interested in finding someone like you. These are all obvious things, but they’re really important things.

    So the second kind of trigger point, choice point, really important juncture or nexus in the process is looking for people, searching for people. This applies in the online world and the in-person world as well.

    To Feel Safe Inside Is an Important Point in Early Dating

    This is something I’ve said so many times, and I will say so many more times. It is a sweet, and powerful, and transformative tool. And that is that when you meet people, you think, “With whom does my soul feel safe? Does my soul feel safe with this person?” Now that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t exciting.

    That the person doesn’t challenge you to think in new ways or do new things. All of those things are wonderful. But it’s a sense of safety that you feel inside that is like, “I could build a home in the world with somebody who has these qualities.” Now of course you won’t go that far, necessarily in the first date.

    But you will quickly, especially when you make this a conscious question, you will begin to sense when your soul feels safe with someone. When you make that a really clear goal, you will notice people with whom your soul feels safe and you will be more attracted to them. And I believe you will attract those people more. So that’s pretty amazing.

    I talk a lot about two circuitries of attraction that we all have. One circuitry of attraction that we have is attractions of inspiration. That’s where we can get turned on, fall in love, get sexually excited by someone who’s not only attractive but has a deep goodness. And the combo of those two things together is what we are looking for.

    The Best Places to Meet People

    The Best Places to Meet People
    Photographer: Rod Long | Source: Unsplash

    So when you search, when you look at people’s profiles, when you’re at a party, notice how a person makes you feel inside. Because you will notice quickly their quality of integrity, their quality of warmth. You may not know it all right away, but you will notice quickly.

    So search for those things. And really, really, really believe that one of the best places to meet people is an environment with people where people who share your values and passions congregate. This could be online, and it could be in real-time. But it’s a big, big, big deal. It’s a bigger deal than most people realize.

    Because when you’re in those environments, you shine. There’s a sense of connection that can happen. So that’s another really important point in the search process. If you’re doing that online, you can filter and search for qualities, attributes, and passions that you are most interested in.

    The last thing I want to say about this second point is this. Stretch your boundaries. Stretch your boundaries. If somebody lived 200 miles or 100 miles outside of your end zone of how far you’re willing to travel, and that person would be the soulmate of your life, would you say no to that person because they live that much further?

    Would you say no to your future with that person because they were just those extra miles? I doubt it. If the person was an inch or two taller, an inch or two shorter, five years older, five years younger. If you had this experience of deep desire, deep connectedness, and a shared sense of wanting to share your lives together, would you say no because of those issues?

    One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating Is to Soften Your Requirements

    So I want to really encourage you to soften your requirements in these initial stages. Really soften and stretch them to the degree that you possibly can. Then notice the chemistry and the connection. Because one thing about love that’s really funny is I feel like it kind of tweaks our nose. Because the person that we end up with who’s really wonderful for us is just not at all who we pictured.

    I think that’s a really important thing is to be able to stretch wider and further around all these things that I’m talking about here. Even educational level. Somebody might be of higher education than you’re necessarily comfortable with. But that’s you stopping yourself. Someone might not have the degree that you require and could be brilliant in many different ways, apart from book learning. So another area where I encourage you to stretch. I feel that people don’t stretch enough in those areas.

    But the area that I often, often, often, often wish people stretched more in my classes and my courses, in the emails I get, in the clients that I work with, I see this again and again when it comes to character, when it comes to someone being committed to treating you well. You do not want to stretch in those things.

    You want someone who has curated a life of decency, a life of integrity. You do not want anyone else. You want to be that kind of person too. So I think that’s a really important thing. If someone treats you badly and it’s a real habit of theirs to treat you badly, that’s just not okay.

    The Initial Reaching Out

    Now if you find that happening and you share what you need, what doesn’t work with the person and they respond, and they listen, and they hear it, well, that’s what good relationships are made of.

    But if someone is hurtful consciously again and again, and they gaslight you about it, they say it’s not a big deal, they want you to kind of let go of it and just keep moving on, that’s not okay. So that’s where I encourage you to be even more discriminating.

    So the third stage that I just want to share some thoughts are about the initial reaching out. Now, this initial reaching out might happen in person and it might happen online. But there are just a few really important points that I want to make.

    The first point is this, modern dating culture has sped things up so quickly that there’s not really enough space for graciousness, kindness, generosity, and listening. You want to hold all of those things. You want to be kind. You want to be gracious. You want to be thoughtful. And if other people aren’t, then you recognize that. You want someone who recognizes those qualities and reflects them back.

    This is how instantly you could save huge amounts of time by just being kind of this very warm, decent, caring you. If someone doesn’t get it, if they walk on it, if they can’t give that back, then you know right there. So you’re setting a higher bar and that’s a beautiful and good thing to do. I highly encourage it, highly encourage it. Because you want someone who is essentially kind, and decent, and thoughtful in those same ways.

    Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness

    Important Points in Early Dating That Lead to Happiness
    Photographer: Andreas Weiland | Source: Unsplash

    These are the things that really lead to happiness and we swallow our sensitivity. We say, “No, I should get used to this unkindness. I should get used to this cocky, arrogant attitude.” No, we should not be getting used to that stuff.

    Then another one is bravery. Really kind of developing the muscle of approaching people or talking to people who interest you. And when I used to lead Deeper Dating events in person, which is how I began in this whole journey, there was a period where people had to give out their phone numbers. These were in-person events.

    People had to give out their phone numbers. The rule of the game was that if someone gave you their number, you had to thank them and then have a moment of gratitude. To just honor that this was a gift. You did not have to call them if you really chose not to. Some people were built and did things in such a way that they would want to let somebody know. This is not really a match.

    Other people often felt like, “Well, I wouldn’t want somebody to do that to me. I don’t want to get a message like that. I’d rather they just don’t contact me.” So people made their own rules, but the ground rule was you always said thank you.

    And what people would discover is that they would build a muscle of going up to strangers, or smiling at strangers, or starting a conversation with strangers. It’s hard and it’s scary. But man, that is a really beautiful and important skill.

    Moments of Bravery

    It’s almost like every one of those moments where you’re brave like that. It’s like you’re visiting a foreign country for the first time. There’s an excitement. There’s an adventure. There’s a fear. Really those moments of bravery are incredible things. I know how hard they can be, but I want to really encourage that kind of bravery.

    So then the next point is like first few dates. Bunch of things I want to say about that. One thing is that if there is some spark because you cannot force sexual interest. It’s kind of cruelty to yourself to force yourself to be attracted to someone who you’re not attracted to.

    But if the person is kind of hot, if there’s kind of a spark, if there’s kind of a sense of potential sexual interest. If there are parts of their body, or their face, or their laugh that yeah, turn you on, even though other parts don’t as much. And they’re awesome people and you love who they are, stick with it. Because it will not stay static.

    In time, you’re either going to get more attracted to them and they’ll get more beautiful to you. Then you’ll know what to do, or they won’t. You’ll just really see nope, nope, it’s not going in that direction. I know it’s not and then you honor that as well.

    But don’t just look for the people with whom you unequivocally are completely sexually attracted to, right from the start. Look for people with whom there’s a spark and then get to know who they are. This is a big deal. It’s really, really important.

    Allowing Gentler Sparks and Enjoying the Person Are Important Points in Early Dating

    And even if you’re really, really, if you have hair-trigger eyes, that it’s got to be an exact, certain type, just watch. When you let yourself be with people who there’s some spark with and you let yourself fantasize about those sparky places with them and there’s a goodness, and a decency, and a wonderfulness in your connection, stuff grows.

    And the research shows the majority of people who were in good longterm relationships did not have love at first sight. So just an interesting thing to note.

    So that’s one thing that’s really important is allowing a gentler spark and enjoying the person and getting to know them and giving space for that spark to grow. The other thing I just want to say about this is what we know is that those people who make us crazy, crazy, crazy attracted, from the beginning, very, very often are not available or aren’t going to treat us quite right. And something inside our psyche knows this and wants to prove our worth by getting them to embrace us. Because we know that somehow they won’t fully do that.

    Sometimes the people who we kind of feel that they really will embrace us for who we are we feel a little like, “Ew.” For those of us who have self-esteem issues, that’s a normal thing. I call it the wave. I write about it a lot. I speak about it a lot. I have had it a lot. That’s not for this episode.

    The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love

    The Single Greatest Saboteur of Healthy, New Love
    Photographer: Devin Avery | Source: Unsplash

    But I think it’s the single greatest saboteur of healthy, new love. So I would say look in my book, look in my online course, or just look up the episodes where I speak about the wave so you can learn more about that.

    When you’re on your date with someone, don’t play it cool. Don’t do that. It won’t work. It’s so not worth it. Talk about what you’re passionate about. Listen to what the other person is passionate about. Because truly, truly, truly and the research backs this up, listening well is an aphrodisiac. Not listening is a turnoff.

    Now if you’re drinking on the first date and you’re drinking a bunch, you will not even really notice probably. But if you’re sober and you’re noticing, you will be able to tell – it’s just the best feeling when someone does deep listening.

    So listening is a glorious aphrodisiac.

    Talking about what you’re passionate about, eliciting what the other person is passionate about, and being just a little bit extra real, and extra authentic. That kind of shifting from a smooth surface of who you think you’re supposed to be to the textured surface where people can really feel the gritty essence of your being, your saltiness, your humanity, your imperfections, your vulnerability. That stuff’s really sexy and awesome.

    I quote this often, Brene Brown says, “ vulnerability – it is the last thing we want to show, but the first thing we look for in another person.” And along that kind of direction of things, one last thing I want to say is that the research shows that playing hard to get is not the way to go.

    Showing Enthusiasm Is One of the Most Important Points in Early Dating

    This is researched information. The way to go is to show your enthusiasm. Of course, then you want to give the person space because they might be kind of integrating that sense of, “This person really likes me.” That may take a little bit for them to integrate that. So they may not instantly act as enthusiastically right back, but you will know.

    And if they’re not interested, then that is another thing you’ll know. But, the risk of showing your enthusiasm is dramatically less than the risk of showing coolness and coldness and acting like you don’t care. Or that you’re not excited about someone when in fact you are. So allow yourself that joy of enthusiasm.

    So the last kind of site in this early dating journey that I want to talk about now is when feelings start to grow. So I’m not going to talk much now about if feelings aren’t growing, that’s a kind of separate issue. But I’m going to talk about what happens when you’re dating someone and feelings begin to grow.

    What I want to say is, and I’ve said this in other episodes, don’t have sex too early. Don’t have sex when you’re intoxicated early on. Because your first sex should not be when you’re intoxicated if you can avoid that.

    Because what happens is there are repercussions for many of us when we have sex too early. Where we either get really kind of needy and clingy and insecure. Or we just want to get the hell out of dodge. We just want to get away.

    A Back and Forth Between Excitement and Fear

    It is best to wait until this amazing, amazing process that happens when the bond with someone starts growing. Because your brain, your heart, your sexuality, all starts specializing in your connection with this person. Like invisible tendrils of connection start to develop in your psyche for them.

    It’s a very beautiful and gentle thing. You don’t want to force it to go quicker than it’s ready to go. Now that does not mean that you cannot and should not be having sexual fantasies about that person and enjoying, picturing different sexual and sensual things with them. That is all wonderful.

    Putting aside if you have sexual compulsion issues, that’s an area to get support on and be careful about the advice that I just gave, might need a little bit of modification there. This is such an exciting time and such a scary time and the tendency might be not to show your enthusiasm because it feels so risky. But again, it is fine to show your enthusiasm.

    But just give the other person space too. Because especially in these early stages for many of us, there’s a back and forth between excitement and fear, excitement and fear. So you want to give the person space to breathe. That’s a really good thing to do.

    Now that does not mean that you get to text them and they don’t answer you for three days. That’s just not nice. So you have a right to say what you need in terms of communication. But it is an important time to know that you will have fears and the other person will have fears at different points.

    The Key to Handling the Wave

    But as the feelings grow, you might have the wave experience, which I talked about just a few moments ago. And as I said there, I guess I will say something about the wave here. And that is that the wave is when you meet someone, and you like them, and they like you and they feel decent, and they feel available. All of a sudden, your sense of desire just kind of drops. It disappears. You find things that irritate you about them. You feel kind of horrible because you don’t want to feel obligated, but you have absolutely no feelings for this person anymore. Your feelings just disappeared.

    All of a sudden, they just irritate you and you feel nothing for them. You hear me speaking passionately because this wave dynamic is what stopped me from being able to have a relationship for countless years of my life.

    The key to handling the wave is not to run, and not to suffocate yourself by bringing on more closeness than you’re ready for. Giving yourself enough space that there’s air between the two of you, that there’s room to breathe, that you don’t feel suffocated. But not fleeing all together. Taking the space you need, which is a beautifully adult action.

    When you can do that, and when the other person allows that, in very many cases, you will feel the energy of desire kind of whooshing in again. Coming back, even though it felt like it disappeared. This is something I learned through a lot of work. I’ve worked with so many people, so many of us experienced the wave. So that’s another point that I want to make.

    Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating

    Honesty and Truth Play Important Points in Early Dating
    Photographer: Joël de Vriend | Source: Unsplash

    Another point I want to make is the importance of honesty and truth. That it’s really important that your partner gets a sense of your realness and your vulnerability. This beginning stage is so precious and so wonderful.

    Now because it’s so exciting, and it’s so charged, and it’s also so scary, we need the help of friends, coaches, therapists very often in this phase. Because in this phase, we get afraid and we enact patterns that push intimacy away unconsciously. We think we know just what we’re doing.

    But when we talk to a friend, our friend says, “Well, that wasn’t really that nice.” Or, “Maybe you weren’t really hearing what they said.” Or, “I don’t think they meant it that way.” Or, “No, ask him to go to the museum with you.” So thank God for friends in this stage, because we get scared and we start acting in old ways.

    At this point, when you’ve integrated these different skills into each one of these kind of trigger points. When you’ve been able to inject this wisdom and goodness, and kindness, and intimacy skills into each one of those points, your dating life and your dating experience is going to be immensely different and you will find in almost all cases that the quality of your dating life changes and that you are much, much more likely to meet people and bond with people who truly, truly are good for you. That’s what we want. These are the skills that we don’t get taught that set us on a path that really leads to love.

    Afterword

    So I’m so happy to be able to share these particular skills and these particular points with you. Thanks so much for listening, and go to deeperdatingpodcast.com to join my mailing list and get a free gift. And I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.

  • How to Cultivate Authentic Intimacy in Online Dating: Relationship Coach Jordan Gray [EP073]

    If you want to cultivate authentic intimacy in online dating, here’s the most important thing to know: It’s not about tricks and gimmicks. It’s about the bravery to be yourself! In this episode, the wonderful Jordan Gray teaches the steps we need to take to do exactly that. There are love-lessons ( and life lessons!) in this episode that are truly not to be missed!

    Table of Contents

    Episode Introduction: Authentic Intimacy

    Authentic Intimacy

    How do you bring real authenticity and vulnerability and aliveness and eros to virtual dating. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating podcast. As I interview Jordan Gray and he teaches us powerful methods for doing that both in our virtual dating life and our real-time dating life.

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and the author of the best-selling book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.

    Today, I’m going to be talking with the truly inspiring relationship coach, the author Jordan Gray about how to bring deep authenticity, romance, and when the time is right, hot sex into your virtual dating life.

    Every week, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love and skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy life.

    If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get free gifts and you’ll learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey.

    You’ll also find a complete transcript of this and every other episode. Also, I just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help.

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review

    Subscribe and Leave Ken a Review
    Leave Ken a Review

    Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a fabulous thank you if you subscribe on iTunes or elsewhere and left me a review, so thanks so much for that. Now, let’s jump in. I want to introduce my guest who actually I think I did my first podcast interview ever with Jordan. It still really stands out as a very special experience.

    Jordan Gray is a five-time number one Amazon best-selling author and a public speaker and a relationship coach with more than a decade of practice behind him. His work has been featured in the TimesBBCForbesSelfCosmopolitanEntrepreneurElephant JournalGood Men Project, and countless other publications around the globe. He’s made it his life’s mission to make thriving relationships attainable to everyone.

    Since 2009, his writing has reached an audience of well over 80 million people from around the world. In the course of this interview, you’ll see why because the blend of smarts and passion for growth and true authenticity just shines from this guy. Jordan, it’s great to have you here.

    Jordan: Ken, it’s so good to be here. I appreciate you having me so much, and yes, the interview that we did three or four years ago still holds a massive place in my heart, so I’m very happy to be here.

    Ken: I’m so glad. We’re going to jump in and talk about so many different things, but both of us have agreed that a lot of people are wondering, how the hell do you do a virtual date and have it not be boring or flat or go too far, too fast or not have a quality of aliveness?

    How to Bring Romance and Authentic Intimacy in Virtual Dating

    How to Bring Romance and Authentic Intimacy in Virutal Dating
    Photographer: Dima Pechurin | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: What can you do to create virtual dating situations that feel organic, that allow connection, that build connection and that really work to further a relationship when you can’t be together in person? I know you wrote a blog post recently on having wonderful sex on Zoom or a virtual date.

    I wanted to expand this to absolutely talk about sex, but also talk about early dating, talk about how to bring romance and authenticity into every stage of the dating process when you’re doing it virtually. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts and reflections on this.

    Jordan: Absolutely, yeah, I think the first thing that I want to touch on is really acknowledging that just because there are now screens involved or at least more heavily involved than they might have been before doesn’t mean that the foundational guidelines don’t apply.

    Ken: Right.

    Jordan: I was talking to someone the other day and they’re saying that “Oh, I’ve been talking to my parents more than I had. I’m talking to my parents more in the last month than I had in the years prior. I don’t know how to have a conversation with them via Zoom.”

    I was like, “Well, did you not have a conversation with them before? Are you really blaming the virtual medium or was it just already sticky and that’s just being done, much more highlighted in conscious awareness?

    The Discomforts of Doing Online Dating

    Jordan: The foundational guidelines of dating kind people and being honest about the truth of who you are and what you’re looking for, these things still apply as much as they ever have, if anything, because we don’t have the distraction of meeting up for a first date with someone and having physical attraction take up a lot of your mental and emotional bandwidth.

    It’s now much easier to not drown in our projections and stories of who the person is or who we’re trying to present ourselves at. There’s the opportunity for a bit more rawness and direct communication right out the gate.

    I think that is something interesting that I’ve been hearing from a lot of my clients lately is just, “I could hide in certain ways by showing up as my absolute best self in a face-to-face first date, but now with just communication or just a video chat, it’s that much harder to juggle the plates of falsity and pretend that we are something that we aren’t.”

    Ken: I love that. There’s so much in that. It makes me think of something Marianne Williamson said where she said, “Sometimes getting naked is the quickest way to avoid really getting naked.”

    That’s one piece of this, but the other piece is so interesting what you brought up that the discomforts that we feel in doing online dating are reflective of discomforts often that are there anyway and this highlights that for us.

    Jordan: Exactly. I think it is a bit more stripped down.

    Up Leveling Your Levels of Honest Communication

    Jordan: Even if you do put on a full face of makeup, you can’t hypnotize someone with your amazing perfume or cologne when you’re just sitting and looking at them via FaceTime and that’s the extent of the connection or relationship that you’ve had with them thus far.

    Ken: There you are and you’re having a date with someone and you feel this, I don’t know, maybe a flatness or a one-dimensionality because that sexual feeling, that erotic feeling, that romantic feeling, that that feeling of physical chemistry just can’t be there. What do you do at that moment to take advantage of the situation, to make it work, to go deeper? Any thoughts on that?

    Jordan: Yes, the most important thing that I would highlight is up-leveling your levels of honest communication. I would say the same thing to people that are in an early relationship but are not self-isolating together, so they’re in separate homes. When the nourishment of physical touch is absent, it’s imperative that you up-level your honest communication.

    I do the same thing for people that are early in their dating process, on the first date or even in the first several dates. I think it really behooves people to be as clear and honest and direct about themselves and the reality of their lives and their emotions than they necessarily would on an in-person first date.

    Honest Communication Promotes Authentic Intimacy

    Honest Communication Promotes Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Volodymyr Hryshchenko | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: I think that the falseness, because there is a sense of falseness or the diet soda version of human connection, online versus in person. I think that any whittling away of our truth is just that much more felt by anyone when it’s, “Okay, this is through a screen and on person, and so if I’m also trying to hide the truth of my heart or the truth of my core gifts, I think that that sting is felt to a much higher degree.”

    Honest, direct communication even more so than you would naturally or appropriately “give” according to the majority of societal dating rules – it’s that much more important to really not hide in the early dating process.

    Ken: Wow. First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody express this instruction in that kind of a clear way. I just think for all of the countless millions of people, single, coupled, anything – wondering about dealing with the flatness of a virtual screen when you’re communicating, what you just said, Jordan, is brilliant and so incredibly important.

    I just want to say that when you’re hanging out with Jordan, which I have never done live, but we’ve done it on video, you instantly feel that, Jordan, you just keep calibrating toward authenticity. Whatever is going on, you’re just calibrating toward the authenticity of your heart. You’re a living example of doing that, which is fabulous.

    Jordan: Thank you.

    Ken: It’s really true, but so now, I want you to take us through how the hell to do that. I’d like you to take us through that for people who are newly dating.

    How to up Level Your Authenticity

    Ken: How do you up-level your authenticity, the honesty of your communication, when you’re in a first or second date? I’m going to take you through the whole thing here of relationships, but let’s start there. Any thoughts or reflections you have about that? Any guidance?

    Jordan: Sure. I think that in chronological order, one of the most high-leverage things that people can do is really audit your relationship history and see the ways that you’ve either been most prone to hiding or certain aspects or gifts of yourself that you have been the fastest to tuck in your back pocket and go, “This part is not safe to talk about, so I’m going to really put this way on the backburner, on the top shelf.”

    Just really auditing where am I most prone to hiding? That doesn’t mean that every person that you go on a first date with and the first 10 minutes of meeting them virtually, especially that they inherently deserve your deepest truths.

    “Well, I’m just going to be irresponsible with my energy and just dump all of my baggage at this person’s screen and then expect them to deal with it because,” that’s not necessarily self-honoring either, but yeah, I think really auditing, “How do I hide them most?

    If I know that the depth of my ability to love or my sensitivity or my caring or my high-powered career, whatever it is for the individual, whatever those things are, you go, “This is the least safe part of myself to bring.” Really monitor moment to moment, “Did I just go through an hour and a half long FaceTimeZoomSkype call with our first date?

    How Soon Is Too Soon

    Jordan: If I really look back on how I’m showing up, did I make sure to tiptoe around that and avoid it at all costs, and if so, how do I think I’m benefiting from that practice?”

    If I were to even allude to, or gently drop hints, that these are significant aspects of myself or important things that I’m looking for in a relationship, I think that is actually much more self-honoring to be direct and clear about, “Well, here’s really a piece of the center of who I am.”

    If this is something that is immediately a red flag or something the other person doesn’t want or isn’t at a point in their journey where they are willing to love or accept or appreciate that, then that’s fine and you can save both of yourselves the time.

    To me, this is the same thing as when female clients laugh like, “How soon is too soon to let a potential dating prospect know that I want kids?” I say, “As soon as there is any legitimate potential. As soon as there’s any chance of you thinking, ‘You know what?

    I’m pretty sure there’s something here,’ you’d want to be honest about that upfront or within the first couple of days instead of going, ‘Okay, well, I’ll just park this until four months in because I don’t want to appear as, fill in the blank, way that I secretly judged myself.’”

    Ken: I love this. I think, once again, you’re like hitting right in the center of the center. Just a couple of thoughts on this. I think this is where your workaround authenticity and my workaround authenticity joins so beautifully because that’s the place where our core gifts live.

    Powerful Qualities That Attract Authentic Intimacy

    Powerful Qualities that Attract Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Nadir sYzYgY | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: We can all ask ourselves the question, “What am I most timid to reveal in my romantic life?” and those are qualities, core gifts, that are nuclear. They’re incredibly powerful. When we hide them, we flatten our beings. When we reveal them, yeah, we’re exposed and we’re vulnerable, but there is an aliveness.

    For someone who cares about that quality, that’s a swoony thing to hear people do that to reveal those parts of themselves. I loved that you said that about, “I want to have kids,” because so many women are just trained that like, “You’re just not supposed to say things that scare the man or your partner away.”

    I just have to tell a little story here which is a dear friend of mine. She did the rules, all that stuff for women that says, “Don’t chase the man. Don’t say too much. Don’t be too much. Don’t be too demanding.” She did that. She did that. She got some useful ideas out of it, but then she met this guy and she really, really liked him.

    It was early in their relationship and they were hiking together and she said to him, “All right. I got to tell you this. I want to have kids. I want a family and I want to have kids. If that doesn’t work for you, that’s really okay, but this feels like it could be going somewhere. I need to say this,” and she was terrified.

    He just looked at her and he said, “Where do I sign up?” They’re together maybe 20 years later. I just love that story because she was brave enough to really express what mattered to her. I love what you’re saying.

    A Reflection of Inner Beliefs

    Jordan: What a beautiful response too. I love the wording of, “Where do I sign up?” It’s like, “Yup, I’m down. Let’s do this. Two feet in? I’m available.”

    I think that’s something that doesn’t get enough airtime, is that what you are, especially if there’s been a series or a pattern of unfamiliar relationships or you’ve had five potential partners in a row, that you found the same frustration with or the same thing that they weren’t accepting of or appreciate you over and over, this pattern of people that have been attracting, they’re all a reflection of your inner beliefs which includes your self judgments.

    If you attract, to my writing, a lot of women who do have high-powered careers and are entrepreneurs or lawyers and very effective and out there in the world doing big important work and without fail, every single time a client like that comes to me and says, “Oh, all men are intimidated by me or every guy that I go out and meet, they just don’t like that I have a career and they feel small.

    They feel like they’re in my shadow,” it’s, at least thus far, always an instance of, “How are you making your career or your power or potency wrong because there’s some aspect of you that thinks, ‘Well, yeah, I am intimidating or I am too much in some way’?”

    Because there is that unconscious belief being held, those relegated to the shadow years or decades prior. The script precedes the actors. The script is in her mind.

    Creating an Opening That Allows Authentic Intimacy to Come In

    Jordan: The script is looking for actors to fill those roles and go, “Oh, see, he’s intimidated. There’s another one, so they’re all intimidated because I am too much. Just like my primary caregiver told me I was 30 or 40 years ago.” Really getting in touch with those aspects of going, “You know what? I don’t have to carry the story anymore.

    I don’t have to drop it entirely and have it go from 100% feels real and true to me to 0% I’m over it,” but at least having that sliver, that wedge of doubt of, “Okay, you know what? Maybe not everyone, maybe not all of the people think that I am too much in this way, and if I soften my own self-judgment, I’m creating that opening that then allows me to meet and attract people that also have a more beneficial or positive relationship to this thing in myself that I’m now making friends with.”

    Ken: Absolutely, and that’s a formula. If you have a pattern of meeting people who don’t know how to honor a particular part of you, you could be pretty sure that it’s a treasured important part of you that you haven’t been able to fully honor. I just want to say something here because this is a really important point to me, as a gay man who has been very hurt by gender role expectations.

    Old Sexism in a New Age Bottle

    Ken: When I hear a woman, a high-powered, accomplished woman say to me, “No, but I hear that if I let go of my femininity, I’ll never find an alpha male,” and then some really big important teachers saying the same thing which I think is old sexism in a new age bottle.

    There’s this cultural messaging for women about what femininity means and how being too in your power and in the joy of your empowerment scares men away. It’s just crippling, crippling advice. I just pray for the world to change more quickly around that.

    Jordan: Absolutely. I think that that’s one of the biggest, I see it as slow and it is happening, but I’m definitely in there, pushing the wedge in further and further and making it the best ability happen faster that, yes, this hyperpolarized 100 %, 0% ideologies of if you’re this gender or this orientation, you’d be extremely this and not the other side. I think that there’s a mass integration happening where people are having it be more of a continuum of, “You know what? I can be 80% this, 20% this or 50% this and 50% this and I can deploy these different energies or tones or temperaments in different aspects of my life with different people and the whole thing is just this ever-shifting collage.”

    What could be more healthy, whole, and integrated than having a massive toolbox that you don’t just have access to 20% of it and the rest are off-limits to you but every single tool is available to you.

    A Deeply Held Belief in Society

    A Deeply Held Belief in Society
    Photographer: Larm Rmah | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: It’s the healthiest for your body, your heart, your sex life, your love life to say, “You know what? All of these are available to me. None of these are wrong, or shameful or incorrect. All of these tools are lovable and I’m allowed to deploy all of them in different areas of my life when I use my judgment to do so.”

    Ken: Absolutely. That’s one of the ways that the LGBTQ community has helped lead the way in the world. That’s also just a gift and I know that you, and I as a gay man, as a heterosexual man are so committed to that same kind of authenticity.

    Jordan: I wouldn’t say it baffles me, but it still fascinates me that one of the through lines of my work that still to this day gets the most pushback is I, semi-regularly, will post photos of myself or articles about the concept of male tears and men crying and how male emotionality is healthy and allowed and great and functional.

    I get just hundreds of people, almost exclusively men pushing back and just saying horrendous, nasty things, but there’s a part of me that’s excited by it. It’s like, “Okay, I’m hitting on this nerve that someone really deeply defends.”

    If I put out a single photo myself crying and a guy takes time out of his day to tell me that I’m ruining gender dynamics and like, “You have to stop this immediately,” and I’m like, “I’m really touching on something important. There’s a deeply held belief in society that still has not been eroded fully and there’s still work to do.” I welcome it and it’s exciting. I do see us as making progress overall.

    How to Reveal Your Soul Qualities

    Ken: Me too. This relates to what you just said, because everybody, the qualities that you have, that you hide because they seem too “masculine or feminine,” whatever those qualities are, are nuclear places.

    Those are core gift places and they apply to what Jordan just said, the qualities that feel, let’s say, too “feminine” for a man, too masculine for a woman, those are soul qualities and the degree to which we don’t treasure them is the degree to which we’re going to be attracted to people who also don’t treasure them. Super, super important thing.

    I just want to operationalize this a little bit more – so Jordan, could you just give an example, somebody who’s in a virtual date, it’s one of the early dating experiences with this person and they think, “Okay, here’s a part of me that I’ve been a little bit ashamed or awkward to talk about, but it’s at the center of me,” how they might do that and reveal it?

    Because you also said if you give it short shrift in a certain way, it might not work. I know so many people who share those parts of themselves in early dating, but they do it so timidly that the other person feels awkward too and doesn’t pick up and then the person feels like, “Oh, they don’t get this quality in me.”

    Could you just give us an example of how somebody might feel awkward about sharing a part of themselves and how they could do that in early dating?

    Jordan: Absolutely. Just to name directly, I think that leaning more towards, being overly clear and overly direct in the presentation of it or the asking of it, I think, it’s better safe than sorry.

    At the Risk of Momentarily Neutralizing a Sense of Passion

    Jordan: Yes, if you are lobbing out a thing that feels really like emotionally significant for you, but there’s even a chance of, “You know what? This thing that I’m sending off that might feel like a big obvious flare gun might not even be a blip on their radar,” if you’re not sure that it did land, then again, if it is one of the core gift, deeper things you might have held some wounding around in the past.

    I think that at the risk of momentarily neutralizing a sense of passion or romantic mystery. I think it’s better to be clear on those things than, “Oh, well, I put out this very subtle hint that they must have picked up on it and I’m going to now mindread and interpret through my bias filters and go, ‘Okay, well, I lobbed out that hint and they didn’t like it, so they probably hate that, so that part about me is still lovable thereby justifying my story or reinforcing it and never just ghosting them,’” because you think that they’re not aligned match.

    Just to give a more clear, direct example to continue on the thread that I was talking about before, I’ll just use one from my personal journey where there were so many years of my dating history where I did maintain that narrative that male emotionality was wrong or weak or disgusting or just wasn’t allowed like, “Here are emotions that my gender just are not allowed to display,” if they want to maintain any romantic relationships long term which of course is absolute BS.

    Being Comfortable With Honesty

    Jordan: But that would be something that I would name in my early dates.

    I wasn’t at all opposed on a first or second date, that again, there was any sense of, “Okay, I’m pretty sure this is going well and I’m liking where it’s going and I like everything I’m finding out about this person. I would just directly ask, “How do you feel about it when men cry?” and just let it be there and just get their honest response.

    Generally, by the time that I was comfortable enough to be asking this, that was when I was already starting to be on dates with, for me, women who were accepting and loving of these traits.

    Whereas years prior, when I wasn’t yet comfortable enough to ask the question if I had just like tried to hotwire the connection and asked it prematurely, I likely would have been on dates with women who would have been like, “No, I agree with the deepest beliefs of your self-judgment.

    I think that it is wrong and disgusting. How dare you to even bring this up on a first date? How wrong is that?” I think by the time you feel even tentatively, timidly ready to name the thing, you’re more likely than not, either on a date or soon to be on a date with someone, who will say, as that man said, “Where do I sign up?”

    Ken: That’s amazing and really true. I do just want to say like a yoga teacher who says, “Folks, if you need to modify, you can.” Jordan’s an athlete of authenticity. He climbs mountains. He scales cliff edges. He loves authenticity.

    Baby Steps Towards Authentic Intimacy

    Tiptoe Baby Steps Towards Authentic Intimacy
    Photographer: Maxwell Nelson | Source: Unsplash

    Ken: If what he said feels like an aspiration, but you’re not quite there yet, notch it down as little as you can, but as much as you need to to make it work for you. If it’s progress and a step in that direction for you, three cheers because you will notice a difference.

    Jordan: Absolutely, self-compassion, and kindness and gentleness with your process is imperative at every step of the dating process.

    For someone who might hear what I’m saying and be intimidated by, “Oh, that’s like really direct and more than I could ever even imagine myself doing in three lifetimes,” just to give a bit of behind-the-scenes insight as to how I relate to that process, so maybe you can take some tiptoe baby steps towards being the mountain climbing athlete of authenticity.

    For me, I just so value my time and energy and heart and the time and energy of others that it doesn’t do anyone any favors to kick the ball down the field for months of dating with someone where there is the very flimsy potential of romantic connection.

    I would rather just go, “Okay, here is one of the small handful of things that I’m in touch with that I know, deeply matters to me. If we’re not a values fit, that doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. That doesn’t mean that I’m wrong.

    It doesn’t mean that either one of us isn’t enough or that anyone is being rejected wholesale. We’re just seeing if we have an aligned vision for our lives. That’s it. It doesn’t mean anything about us. We’re just checking in and going, ‘Does this work for the highest and best direction of both of our hearts?’”

    A Positive Shift of Intentions

    Ken: Doing that, going into a date, knowing that whatever those qualities are, that are so central, these core gift places, that your goal and your intention is to share that, reveal it, and only be with somebody who really appreciates that. When that becomes your intention, there’s an amazing side effect is that your fear of rejection diminishes. It actually really does.

    This is wonderful and it’s concrete and it’s scary and it’s gorgeous. I love it. Now, I’m going to move on to, okay, so you’ve had a few dates, you’re feeling turned on to this person. You’re feeling a sexual energy. You’re like, “I like this. I like him. I like her. I’m interested,” but there you are on a screen.

    How do you bring that in? Any thoughts in that early stage dating where you’re interested? This is a really interesting point because I think we have fears that if we go too far, too fast, it’s going to be like every other time we did online dating and went too far, too fast, and ended up disappointed. I think we’re careful about that.

    Then, I also think that we might feel like, “I need to hold this part of me until I actually meet this person and see who they are and what they what I think of them, and then also, it’s a little awkward to bring this sexual romantic stuff up on a virtual date in a way that it might not be so much at a lovely restaurant together.” Give us some guidance on authenticity as Eros enters the picture.

    A Guide Towards Authentic Intimacy

    Jordan: Absolutely, yes and one point I want to double down on there is both of those pathways are 100% valid. I think that there is validity for some people in following their energy and if there is a mutual sense of trust and alignment and real relationship potential and you want to move more towards the erotic in your relating, then amazing.

    Make sure you do it with someone you trust and talk through it in a consent-based way and like, “What are we to us? What are each of us excited to move towards in this process and if there is a sense of all those things are still true, that there’s a lot of passion and intensity and also grounded-ness and potential here?”

    I don’t yet want to cross that bridge of bringing sexual charge into a relationship in a video set or video chat sex kind of way and I want to just let this simmer until we’re able to meet face to face even if it’s months from now, that is also fine and you are not slow or rigid or prudish or any outdated words that people might use in the back of their psyche to make themselves wrong. I think both those things can absolutely be appropriate for different relational contexts.

    Ken: Let’s say you do the latter and you’re saying, “I’m not really wanting to like go and have like video sex before we actually meet in person,” but yet, it’s also not authentic to just pretend the Eros isn’t there and the turn-on is a beautiful sweet thing and that’s like part of romance and you don’t want to lose that and go flat. What do you do?

    The Early Dating Version of Orgasm Denial

    Jordan: Speaking in this current worldwide climate, I think there are both virtual and in-person, depending on the city, state, province, country, continent to the person who’s listening to this is coming from, you could go and have a socially distanced, two-meters away or six-feet away walk in nature together just to experience each other in the flesh at all.

    Ken: Good point.

    Jordan: And even that guarantee of, “Okay, we get to experience each other’s energy face to face and we’re not allowed to touch each other yet,” like that’s its own kind of erotic charge.

    Ken: It is.

    Jordan: It’s almost the early dating version of orgasm denial for BDSM lovers, like you’re right there. It’s been confirmed that “Yes, I’m even more attracted to you now and I’m not allowed to touch your flesh,” that’s almost like the Romeo and Juliet charge of the forbidden thing. Again, staying within your jurisdictions, legalities.

    Going back to the online video chat sex examples, I think that especially in early dating, really making sure that you’re doing it with someone you trust because there is the added layer of this person could take screen grabs or store some of this data if they wanted to.

    Just really making sure that this person, there’s real potential and they don’t remind you, they’re not a carbon copy of your last three abusive partners like, “No, this person really does feel safe and soft and grounded and aware of me and compassionate and kind.”

    An Externalized Conversation on a Best Case Scenario

    An Externalized Conversation On a Best Case Scenario
    Photographer: Cody Engel | Source: Unsplash

    Jordan: Again, the same rules apply to the type of people that you would be physically intimate with in-person should be as relevant for you know, if not more relevant, to this medium and to build up the sexual tension, the sexual simmer.

    I thin